What to do if you see trees still down on utility lines as cleanup continues


Trees on utility lines on Davis Creek Road after an ice storm in Cabell County, WV

(WOWK) — The weather has been cooperating and cleanup of damaged trees from the recent ice storms continues. There are still many locations where trees are over utility lines and viewers have asked what they can do and who they should report it to.

Broken tree over utility lines on Davis Creek Road, Cabell County, WV

If you see a tree down on a line it may not always be the power company who is responsible for cleaning up the situation. Plus not all situations are a risk to electrical service even though they may look like a mess. However, traditionally the higher on a pole the line is, the better chance it is an electrical line.

However, an Appalachian Power spokesperson tells 13 News there is a difference in which lines are which and why sometimes you see trees laying on the lines for a longer period of time. We are told that trees people see laying on lower lines for lengthy periods are on phone lines. The thicker-looking phone lines are lower on the poles and often incorporate a steel cable that can support fairly large trees without interrupting phone service. 

If it is determined that the issue is a phone line, then the phone company will be responsible for clearing the line. If there is a safety hazard to people or the chance of interrupted electrical service then the power company will handle that.

However Appalachian Power does have an 800 number and a website where you can report trees over the utility lines so they can assess the potential electrical hazard. It should be noted that you should not touch a tree that is on any utility line just in case there is electricity going through the tree.

Screen grab of Appalachian Power web site to report trees on lines

If you can, try to provide specific information, like the exact location and pole number information on the pole. You can call 1-800-956-4237 or you can log on to the Appalachian Power Outage and Hazard Report page here or the Appalachian Power Tree Trouble Report Site here.

You can monitor the progress of the major local power companies in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio when we have outages by also getting the StormTracker 13 weather app. It’s free and you can download it right here.

Follow Spencer Adkins on Facebook and Twitter for the latest weather developments.

For local forecasts, weather alerts, live VIPIR Radar and more, download the FREE StormTracker 13 Weather App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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