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A few weeks ago a small branch became stuck in the telephone and cable wires leading to our house. I hoped it would blow out, but the latest snow storm has put it in it's current position.

Is this a concern? Could it mess up our electricity or anything? If so should the power company take care of it since it's before the meter? This is in Ohio if that matters.enter image description here

  • really I don't see what bad thing would happen if you just leave it alone. – agentp Dec 27 '17 at 21:45
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    @agentp Fire, maybe? I'm no electrician, but flammable things around high-power electricity always worries me. I'd be surprised if your typical wire's insulation was thin enough to spark, but... well, people don't always do a good job, for one. – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Dec 28 '17 at 1:32
  • Thank you everyone. I called The Illuminating Company. They were clear that trees close to the wires going to the house are my responsibility so no guarantee they'll take care of it but he put in an order that goes to the Forestry Dept. I explained many times its a twig, not a tree, etc. We'll see what happens. (It was about 10 feet away from the current spot when it first got stuck several weeks ago but moved in our Christmas Eve storm.) – user20127 Dec 28 '17 at 16:36
  • youtu.be/C9qSduzY3-0?t=8s – self.name Dec 28 '17 at 21:39
  • the twig is not conductive. No way that will spark and catch fire. – agentp Dec 29 '17 at 16:02
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Absolutely do not try to remove this yourself. You have no way of safely disconnecting the power or being 100% sure you have protected yourself from electrocution or arc flash. The power company is typically responsible for the wire from the pole to your house. I would contact them about having it removed. I am sure they would rather remove the stick than have to replace the cable in the event it came down.

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Is this a concern?

This is not an urgent or emergency issue, however it should be reported to the power company.

Could it mess up our electricity or anything?

It's very unlikely. Depending on the condition of the power lines there are a variety of very low risk events that could result from this situation. The risks are high enough to report, but this isn't an emergency situation, and no other actions beyond reporting should be taken unless you detect fire, smoke, smoldering, arcing, or anything other than a branch resting on some wires.

Once reported it is the power company's responsibility, and if any damage does occur to your structure or appliances due to the branch you may be able to hold them liable.

If so should the power company take care of it since it's before the meter?

Yes. The power companies in Ohio, and generally throughout the US, are responsible for the power lines up to and including the electrical meter. If this branch is on a powerline after your meter (say the meter is on another building and this line goes between buildings after the meter) then it would be your responsibility.

If this is the case you can hire an electrician to remove the branch. There should be a breaker between the meter and this branch sub-panel. (Typically near or in the main panel.) The electrician will turn that circuit off, verify the power is turned of in this building, and then remove the branch.

If this is on a house, it's likely that this is before the meter, and thus the responsibility of the power company.

Even if you wanted to do something, you do not have the power to do so without accepting the consequences of any subsequent problems. If you attempt to remove it yourself and damage the wires or structure in the process you may be held liable not only for the damage you cause but any subsequent work the power company has to do to restore service.

Electricians are not allowed to work on those lines unless they're working for the power company, so you can't even hire someone to take care of it for you. The lines are the legal property of the power company, and any attempt to deal with this problem could be met with legal and other consequences if discovered.

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    Chances are good snow, ice, and wind would conspire to remove it for you over the next few months. I'd report it, leave it alone, and if they removed it great, if not, it's just not a big deal. – Adam Davis Dec 27 '17 at 23:27
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You should get that stick out of there. It could cause problems.

The wires there are insulated, so the risk of being shocked is minimal. Just to be safe, use a wooden broom handle to push the stick out of the way.

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    I would agree it needs to come out. I would be more worried about my cable equipment than power issues, the wires are insulated but depending on age the insulation may be full of cracks my preference would be to use a fiberglass handle over wood but it both cases you should be fine pulling it out. – Ed Beal Dec 27 '17 at 19:55
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    The risk of something going wrong is probably pretty low but it's pretty hard to know the exact condition of the wires from the description and image available. And the thing being risked - death - is pretty hefty. Overall, don't do this yourself. Get a professional. – Jean-Paul Calderone Dec 27 '17 at 21:06
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    Insulation of an aged service drop can be pretty rotten. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 27 '17 at 21:26
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    The "DIY" in the site URL stands for "do it your self", not "do in yourself". – Mark Dec 27 '17 at 22:48
  • "The wires there are insulated" - but are they? After, you know, a branch fell on them? – Mołot Dec 28 '17 at 10:18

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