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Sparking/Smoking power lines

Old 08-26-2015, 11:29 AM
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Default Sparking/Smoking power lines

I live in Florida and have a lot of bamboo in my backyard. Last year a neighbor saw sparking and crackling coming from the power wire where it touched some of the bamboo. I called Florida Power and Light and they said they would come out and check on it. They were supposed to call me so I could let them in the locked backyard and show them what was happening. I was home all day but ran out for a few minutes when I came back there was a note on the door saying everything was fine. I don't see how he looked at the area since it was inside my locked yard. I never could get an answer in subsequent phone calls about what was going on there. Fast forward to today I'm out raking the yard I hear a bunch of crackling noise and I look up and I see smoke coming out of the bamboo where the wire is. I called FPL and told them I needed someone to come immediately. As usual I got the runaround and somebody will probably call me when they get here so I can let them in the yard and show them what I found. They act like its no big deal. It's now about 5 hours later and they still have not shown up and no phone call. I'm a little nervous because if the bamboo catches on fire it's going to catch my house on fire but I can't get them to tell me if this is a dangerous situation or not. I have not heard any more crackling or seen any more smokes since then it seems to be a very random thing. Does anyone have any experience with this and can you tell me if this is something that I should be really worried about or not? I did talk to an FPL employee last year who was a friend of a friend and he told me they handled the situation completely wrong.
Old 08-26-2015, 11:31 AM
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I forgot in the previous post I'm also wondering if either me or my dog could get electrocuted if we go near that bamboo?
Old 08-26-2015, 11:34 AM
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call fire department
Old 08-26-2015, 11:36 AM
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At least we know who to blame when the grid goes down this time. Last time: Ohio. This time 38P6.
Old 08-26-2015, 11:37 AM
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Yes its dangerous. The electricity is arcing through your bamboo and going to ground. It could start the bamboo on fire if dry enough. And potentially you could get zapped if you touched the bamboo while the power line is arcing to it, if you make a better ground than the bamboo.
Old 08-26-2015, 11:40 AM
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These people are really pissing me off I told them that I was considering calling the fire department thinking it would get them to move a little quicker but they didn't seem to care. I'm calling them back now looking for a supervisor I'm going to bitch like hell.
Old 08-26-2015, 11:48 AM
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I agree; if they won't respond call the fire department. They will get a response.

Just an FYI but they may have an easement on your property for the line and there may be restrictions on how high you can let plants grow in that easement.
Old 08-26-2015, 11:51 AM
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Well isn't this interesting I called them back and told the lady what's going on and she immediately puts me through to an emergency department and they are contacting a crew to get them out as soon as possible. They said if I feel unsafe or if I see any more smoking to immediately call 9-1-1. They also told me to stay away from it. Last year they told me it was perfectly safe for me to go cut down the bamboo!
Old 08-26-2015, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 38P6 View Post
... Last year they told me it was perfectly safe for me to go cut down the bamboo!
That's why their insurance got cancelled?

I'd avoid touching anything that touches live power lines. It probably says that on their web site and on the stuffers they put in your bills.
Old 08-26-2015, 12:20 PM
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I work for a utility and can say, the help you get is dependent on who the person is that answers the phone.
Old 08-26-2015, 01:13 PM
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the tips of the bamboo will burn itself clear and they will schedule it for some trimming. although not what you wanted to hear it happens all the time
Old 08-26-2015, 01:36 PM
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I only want to be sure my house doesn't burn down and my dog won't be electrocuted if he's in the yard. Still nothing from FPL. Their customer service sucks big time.
Old 08-26-2015, 01:38 PM
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This isn't bamboo tips it's bamboo between 1-2 inches wide.
Old 08-26-2015, 01:41 PM
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Fire Department
Old 08-26-2015, 02:08 PM
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I think total mayhem meant that the tips of the bamboo closest to the wires would burn themselves out.

I would imagine, like me, he's picturing the lines sagging between two poles which are very close to the upper "tips" of your bamboo.
Old 08-26-2015, 02:20 PM
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The line hangs down to about 10 feet above ground and the bamboo is over 20 feet tall and surrounds the wire. Just called a supervisor again and they act like it's not a priority but they won't say it's safe. These asshole are going to force me to call the fire dept. FPL will show up fast if I call them. Jesus I hate to do that and waste their time. I'm ready to call an investigative reporter at channel 9.
Old 08-26-2015, 02:25 PM
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Stay far away! I can't remember what the zone of influence is for power lines and it depends how much current flows through the lines, but it's greater that you think. I'd call the fire deportment.

Why doesn't someone trim the bamboo? Are they high power transmission lines or local lines that go to your house?
Old 08-26-2015, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 38P6 View Post
Well isn't this interesting I called them back and told the lady what's going on and she immediately puts me through to an emergency department and they are contacting a crew to get them out as soon as possible. They said if I feel unsafe or if I see any more smoking to immediately call 9-1-1. They also told me to stay away from it. Last year they told me it was perfectly safe for me to go cut down the bamboo!

Always use the words safety, fear of, eminent danger, life threatening! People and companies will jump when they here those words. AKA lawsuit!
Old 08-26-2015, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by lyman24 View Post
Always use the words safety, fear of, eminent danger, life threatening! People and companies will jump when they here those words. AKA lawsuit!
I did and I told them I was recording the conversation. The lady didn't like it when I asked her to please spell her name for me.
Old 08-26-2015, 02:39 PM
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It's pretty scary to look at but most likely there isn't any real danger. There's always a slight chance the current could dry out the plants that are touching it and ignite them but its really slight. I definitely would NOT touch the bamboo as if you present a better path to ground than the bamboo there is a chance you could get shocked. If it looks like there is a chance they could ignite don't hesitate, call the FD. If you don't some sleazy lawyer could try to use it against you if everything burns down.

If they have hot wires 10' off the ground they are too low. Insist they raise them up closer to 20' or more to keep you safe. If it's roadside there are probably ordinances to tell them how high they need to be, over a road the road owner will dictate the proper clearance, and everywhere else the NESC will. 10' is too low for energized lines just about everywhere.

Last but not least, if you knew about this last year why didn't you do something about it then?

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