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Schumer Says Companies That Install New Utility Poles Are Leaving Old Poles Behind to Rot; Poles That Are No Longer In Service Are Neglected, Potentially Hazardous‎, and an Eyesore
Schumer Demands The ‎Responsible Companies Immediately Remove The Hazardous and Redundant Poles That Could Fall Down & Cause A Horrible Accident
Schumer To Utility Companies: Tear Down These Poles!
Standing outside the Wallkill Town Hall in Middletown, NY, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on ‎telecommunications and utility companies in Orange County to immediately remove their redundant utility poles. Schumer said the companies responsible for the poles are ignoring their obligation to remove these old poles when new poles are installed, usually just a few feet away. Schumer said ‎that the poles are not only an eye sore for residents, but they could also be hazardous to the surrounding areas, if the poles are simply left to rot. Schumer said responsible companies should work with the local community to promptly remove the redundant and potentially dangerous poles‎.
“The utility service operators, in this case mainly Frontier Communications, in Wallkill are simply not being good neighbors. Not only are they blatantly ignoring the concerns of local residents and Town officials, they refuse‎ to admit to owning the redundant, unsightly, and sometimes even unstable, utility poles in Wallkill,” said Schumer. “The residents of Wallkill, who work hard to maintain their properties, deserve better – these poles not only threaten the character of their neighborhood but also public safety when they are left to rot on the side of the road. That is why I am urging our Orange County utility companies like Frontier Communications, Time Warner Cable and Orange and Rockland (O&R) Utilities to work together to address this issue and rid the Town of these double poles once and for all.”
Schumer explained that Town of Wallkill residents as well as Town Supervisor Dan Depew have expressed concern over the redundant and potentially hazardous utility poles that currently line their streets. In fact, according to the Town, there are upwards of 546 duplicative utility poles in the Town of Wallkill. Schumer said that these double pole situation typically occur when a telecommunications or utility company fails to remove its obsolete utility pole after the wires have been moved to a new pole. Rather than taking the pole down, companies leave it there to rot. In other cases, because New York State operates under a “last-wire down” doctrine, after one company officially moves its wires to a new pole, the responsibility is then left to the last utility company to move its wires over to remove the old pole. However, according to the Town, this additional obligation has dissuaded some local service providers from relocating their wires.
Schumer said that either case can prove to be inconvenient, unsightly or a potential hazard for area residents. According to the Town, these situations have left residents with either double poles lining their streets, adorned with unnecessary wires placed on both poles, or they have been left with old and new poles standing directly beside each other, with one left completely empty and there to rot. These old, double utility poles are eyesores. In addition, Schumer said they could also be potentially hazardous if they are left there to rot over time. Schumer said this is not only a potential property value detractor, but also a possible safety threat if they are old, rotting and at risk of falling on pedestrians, cars and even homes. Additionally, Schumer said these unnecessary poles increase the chance of power outages during storms and other weather-related events. When an old pole topples, it causes power outages, interrupts communications and blocks roadways, inconveniencing residents and putting lives and property at risk.
Therefore, Schumer today called on the local utility companies in the Orange County area – including Frontier Communications, Time Warner Cable and Orange and Rockland (O&R) Utilities – to work in concert to remove these redundant poles as soon as possible. Schumer said Town Supervisor Depew has been in contact with these companies in an attempt to remove the poles since he took office nearly four years ago, but the Town’s complaints may have fallen on deaf ears. According to the Town, because NY State law says that when one company puts up a new pole, it is their responsibility to notify the other tenants – and the impetus is then on the last company to move its lines over to then remove the redundant, old pole – the liable parties could vary by pole. As a result, Schumer said it is critical these companies work together, expeditiously, to remove these duplicative poles and mitigate this public safety concern.
Schumer was joined by Dan Depew, Supervisor for the Town of Wallkill and Lou Ingrassia, Commissioner of Public Works for the Town of Wallkill.
A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:
Dear Frontier Communications, Time Warner Cable and Orange and Rockland Utilities:
I am writing regarding the 546 double utility poles that are currently out of use in The Town of Wallkill, NY. I understand that the Town of Wallkill has requested, on a number of occasions, to work with Orange and Rockland Utilities to remove these poles throughout the Town. I urge you to work closely with the Town of Wallkill to remove the poles, as they are duplicative and could reasonably pose a number of safety risks.
As you can imagine, besides being unsightly, these poles are an immediate and ongoing hazard to motorists, pedestrians, and property throughout the Town. Additionally, the unnecessary poles increase the chance of power outages during storms and increase the hazard of falling poles due to storms, snow, rain, wind or other weather related events.
I respectfully request you work with the Town to identify the poles for which your company is responsible and immediately work with the Town to remove the poles and eliminate this public safety concern.‎ Please find enclosed the list of poles, as identified by the Town of Wallkill Department of Public Works which are duplicative, potentially hazardous, and must be removed. My office stands ready to assist you to prepare a plan to remove these poles‎.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance as you work to resolve this issue.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator