"Abandoned" Phone/Cable/Electric Wires: Who's Responsible?

First guess is that it varies by state - but I'd also guess that the law is crafted so that *somebody* is responsible for almost everything.
The situation is what looks like some sort of communication wire bundle along a state road where the steel wrapping wire has come undone and is hanging down to the ground.
Guy at the rent-a-car nearby says he called in to somebody-or-other about two weeks ago and a guy came out to look and reported that it was "Abandoned"....
I'm thinking the logical fall guy is the power company on whose poles it hangs.
Anybody got any experience?
--
Pete Cresswell

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On 04/04/2014 09:12 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

All you need to to is call the power company and report a cable down, they will take it from there.
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On 4/4/2014 9:12 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

It belongs to whoever put it there -- if it's abandoned for use, they're more likely not to care than do so as long as it isn't an issue for the actual lines that are in use.
It's possible (probable?) it's a telephone line that the phone company has/had an easement for using the power line poles and if so, it's not their responsibility. When (and if) it causes them a problem it'll be taken care of 'cuz they'll call in their obligations. :) Of course, if it's one of the locals that's gone out of existence, that's something else again and they'd probably have to deal with it themselves if it were to become and issue.
Surprising it's not already been stripped, though, is my first reaction...
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Maybe not. I think what you've encountered might be the outer edge of a dispute about just who is responsible. When our local power company began to obsess over cutting costs they tried very hard to foist as much tree trimming as they could on the county and homeowners. It wasn't until the (you guessed it) untrimmed trees caused havoc after a major storm that the public service commission made clear exactly *who* had to trim trees that threatened the power lines. It was the power company.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Pete, it tolls for thee. <g> Most poles are tagged with an ID plate so it's now up to you to find it and who "owns" that pole. I'd call them first and then the county or state government highway or public service departments if the pole owners were unresponsive. It would seem they're on the hook, liability-wise if they are on notice there's a problem and they fail to correct and it results in some sort of mishap.
Abandoned, undocumented wire in buildings has been such a big problem the NEC addresses it (attn: NEC wonks: Citation?) and requires it be identified and removed before new work is installed. Oh, heck, there's Google:
http://www.facilitiesnet.com/firesafety/article/OutofSight-Fire-Hazards--4683
<<Typically, tenants install the cabling that is required to support their operations while abandoning all previously installed cables. Unless the lease spells out the responsibility for removing the cabling, the responsibility and the cost for its removal falls on the owner.
Managers should take a close look at all leases and license agreements between the organization and tenants, telecommunication companies, and information and cable service providers.
In most cases, a lease will not address the issue of removal of inside wiring to be abandoned. It would be worthwhile to review and revise these existing contracts, as well as all future contracts.>>

That would be my guess but I also would believe they'd try hard to get someone else (Joe Taxpayer, for example) to pay for the removal of wires from their right of way if the original company that ran them went out of business. IMHO, the company leasing the RoW should have had to post some sort of bond guaranteeing the removal of the old wire before the RoW is granted, but as the article above points out, that may not have been addressed in early contracts.
However, based on general legal principles, if you rent out facilities to someone without a security deposit and they go bankrupt, you're on the hook as the landlord. You can't get blood from a turnip.
--
Bobby G.



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wrote:

Not with this, but when I was hiking in the woods near home, and near an xway curve, so no one on the xway could see anything, I found a horizontal 2" pipe about 3 feet above the ground, and the water was coming out full blast, going 6 or 8 feet before it fell to the ground. No valve to turn it off with. Notthing around it but weeds 2 or 3 feet high. I heard it before I saw it.
I called Baltimore County, where it was located, and iirc they asked the address. I said it was a quarter mile from any street, so I couldn't give them an address. They told me in that case to call Baltimore City. (I think the city owns the reservoirs and gets the water first and then sells the county what it uses) I called the city and they wanted an address, and I told them no address and they told me to call the county I said the county told me to call them. I think on the next call, to a different extension in the county, they took my directions and said they'd fix it, but I had to call back in a couple weeks and it took maybe 2 months before the water was turned off. Plus maybe 6 months or more that it was running before I noticed it.
Where i was hiking was soaking wet, making it difficult for us to walk and we thought it was because the stream had flooded and the water not receded yet, but 4 months later it was still soaking wet, when it should have been dry by then. It was another two months before I had time to walk around and before I found the pipe, which I realized was wetting at least an acre or three. and then going into the stream and to the Atlantic Ocean. .
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On 4/4/2014 9:12 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

If some goober tries to salvage it for scrap, you'll find out real quick who owns it. ^_^
TDD
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toss a mannequin on the ground before you call, and say . . .
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