Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yep, There's My Problem. Now Who the Crap Did It? (Update4)

Apparently the cause of my FiOS Outage last week was that an (as of yet) unknown utility dug a quick hole in the easement, clipped my fibre line, and tried to cover it up. Don't know who it was - but I'm working on it.

Four days after the outage, a mysterious brown patch of grass has turned up. Somebody clearly dug here. But law be damned, whoever did it didnt call 811 to have the utilities marked ahead of time (event hough this is clearly an easement). And nobody knocked on the door to let me know what was done.
Four days after the outage, a mysterious brown patch of grass has turned up.  Somebody clearly dug here.   But law be damned, whoever did it didnt call 811 to have the utilities marked ahead of time (even though this is clearly an easement).   And nobody knocked on the door to let me know what was done.

Pull off the top of grass, and winner winner chicken dinner -- a cut FiOS line. The orange flag was buried with the line itself.
Pull off the top of grass, and winner winner chicken dinner -- a cut FiOS line.  The orange flag was buried with the line itself.

No flags and the grass was replaced exactly where it was. Somebody clearly dug the hole, realized they clipped the wire, and then tried to cover it up without marking it.
No flags and the grass was replaced exactly where it was.  Somebody clearly dug the hole, realized they clipped the wire, and then tried to cover it up without marking it.

The next house down had a similar shallow hole. Nothing was in it, but it was at least marked with a generic orange flag.
The next house down had a similar shallow hole. Nothing was in it, but it was at least marked with a generic orange flag.

...

And the next house down from my neighbor, had yet a third shallow hole marked with the generic orange flag. This hole was about a foot away from a charged DME ground transformer.
And the next house down from my neighbor, had yet a third shallow hole marked with the generic orange flag.  This hole was about a foot away from a charged DME ground transformer.

This hole had what looks like a new copper pole in it, pushed at a slight angle towards the DME transformer. The plastic push/safety cap was not worn and had zero signs that it was damaged by the shovel (even though it clearly would have been clipped had it already been there before the new hole was dug)
This hole had what looks like a new copper pole in it, pushed at a slight angle towards the DME transformer.  The plastic push/safety cap was not worn and had zero signs that it was damaged by the shovel (even though it clearly would have been clipped had it already been there before the new hole was dug)

Update 12:30PM:
Spoke to a very helpful Denton Municipal Electric customer service who was able to confirm no tickets were in their system for any digging or utility marking in front of my house last week.

They were, however, able to tell me that Verizon has submitted a ticket on Monday to mark utilities for work they plan to do tomorrow. Initially thought this was for the burying of the replacement fibre line. But DME doublechecked and found it to 'bury an 8 foot grounding pole' for reasons Verizon did not provide. This sounds like what I found in the third hole 2 houses down. DME had no ticket for the neighbor's house, and nothing else in general for my neighborhood last week.

DME also was able to explain that the utility marking colors are industry type specific. Orange flags mean it was somebody in telecommunications. Charter Cable is in the easement too, but based on the 'grounding pole' ticket, it sounds like Verizon is the likely suspect.

Ticket opened up with Verizon Support and waiting on call back from their local 'construction team'. They also updated my account to show the damage did not appear to my fault as so I should not be charged for clipping my own line.

Update2 3:00PM:
Had a very pleasant conversation with the local Verizon Construction Team. They said the work tomorrow was to bury the temp fibre line from Friday's outage. He did not know what DME was referring to with their 'grounding pole' comments based on what he saw in the Verizon ticket.

I gave him the background of the situation and showed him the photos of the mystery construction. He agreed that the pole looked like a "grounding pole". But couldn't tell who did it, or why it was done as both Verizon and Charter boxes in the photos already have grounding poles in them. Also agreed that whoever did it was lucky they didn't electrocute themselves by hitting a charged DME power line with their new (and very conductive) copper pole being pushed underneath DME's ground transformer.

He double-checked his system and confirmed that nothing was in it that would cover this work. Said that sometimes the contractors screw up, though. Couldn't tell who it was, or if they were there for Verizon, Charter, or whoever as the flags could have been mislaid. But as no utilities were marked, nothing should have been dug.

He also confirmed (thankfully) that I would not be charged for the new fibre since this was clearly not my fault.

Charter Communications is the only other one in the easement I haven't called about this yet. Not sure if I want the extra frustration of talking to their team about this. Still trying to excise those demons from when they kept running me through two week outages -- while trying to say it was a problem with my (then only) three year old home wiring.

Seems like far more trouble than it's worth to go down that rabbit hole.

Update3 July 23 4:45PM:
No progress. So much for coming out last week to rebury the replaced FiOS line.

So far, only Atmos Energy has even been out to mark their utilities. Nothing from Charter. Oddly, nothing from from DME or Verizon either, even though they both told me they were going to be done by last Wednesday in their respective phone calls.

Update4 July 30 3:45PM:
Housley Communications (local Verizon Contractor) came out in the heat and just finished burring the new line. Friendly team and they did a solid job with minimal impact to anything in the yard. Impressive on its own. Major bonus points given that they took an hour to get it done right did it all in 105 degrees and 45% humidity.

Still have no clue who originally cut the line in the first place. Moved on to more important stuff in the days since.