City of Cleveland promises to address low hanging wire issue with utility and cable companies

CLEVELAND - Wires are hanging onto the sidewalk, on both ends of the street, they appear to be cable and phone lines, cut and hanging low all over.

This is on E. 55th Street near Fleet Avenue, but could be any Cleveland street.

A street that runs right through the ward of Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli.

"We don't have any regulation for phone and cable companies, hanging wires create a hazardous situation and it's going to have to be regulated. One of these times it's going to be a hot line,"
Brancatelli said.

Brancatelli said some cable and satellite providers hire sub-contractors. The councilman said that when a resident or new renter changes cable or satellite providers, sometimes the new company sloppily cuts the old line and the cycle repeats.

Brancatelli also said sometimes, a demo crew hired by the city to demolish vacant houses is to blame and that to will be addressed.

Slavic Village resident Linda Hart is tired of dodging downed lines, and while she warns everyone to treat all wires as if they're live, hot and dangerous, she worries about kids when a power line falls.

"It's like this everywhere and some kid is going to get shocked or worse when it turns out to be a power line," Hart said.

I contacted cable, phone and the power companies with some of the addresses, even coming across what looked like a cut power line hanging in a tree.

Councilman Brancatelli, who was recently named director of Cleveland's Utilities Committee, appreciates our attention on this problem.

"I certainly appreciate the effort, it's all hands on deck right now," Brancatelli said.

Last week we updated this story we first did four years ago.

Each time we did the story, residents said they're concerned people and kids will become desensitized to seeing so many hanging wires, when all wires should be treated as hot and dangerous, even deadly.

It now appears city officials will push utility and cable companies to fix this problem and quit leaving lines hanging or draping sidewalks.

The City of Cleveland released this statement late Monday afternoon.

"We expect utility lines to be taken care of properly and promptly by the private utility companies. We’re reviewing existing laws to see what type of authority we have regarding this issue. We will work with the utility companies to work out a process to manage this issue".

While we don't know whose lines they are, AT&T and Time Warner Cable issued these statements:

AT&T: "We certainly welcome attention on the topic of safety and any telephone wires that look out of place. To that end, we encourage you to share with your viewers the number for our statewide repair information line: 800-572-4545. Please do call this line to report locations of telephone wires that look out of place.  While your story pointed out that many of the problem lines you saw may not have been telephone lines, we look forward to removing or repairing any that we find, that indeed belong to our company."

Time Warner Cable: "Maintaining line clearance is something we act quickly to correct anytime we identify a potential issue. Though it is not clear who owns the wires you cite in your story, when our lines need to be adjusted, we take immediate action.  If someone comes across a line they feel maybe too low, please call us and we will respond."

Here are a list of telephone numbers you can call to report utility lines you see dangling:

  • AT&T: 1-800-572-4545
  • FirstEnergy: 1-888-LIGHTSS
  • Cleveland Public Power: 216-664-3156
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