The Line

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I sent a bunch of email to the manager whose card the nice but very large-truck driver gave me. I’m experienced: complaints were sent to the PUC (public utilities commission) and the BBB (Better Business Bureau) in a couple of hours this morning. I don’t think they will help. Today I saw a contractor (Sturgeon Electric Denver) truck with an Xcel truck drive by. I think they got the message. That is the way these things usually work out, they do just the minimum to protect, survive, and get by.

Xcel Energy is a tough one, as these things go. I learned in a debacle last May when I called over and over again trying to get an answer for why they were blocking the small, pretty rural street in front of my home for the whole day and into the night. It coincided with a notoriously unsupervised driveway removal and rebuilding. There was no permit or notice. Right in front of my office picture window the man stood there in the street for hours on end while others scurried around like mice. What does digging up the street have to do with a driveway 10 feet away? Finally, someone at Xcel instructed me to tell them to leave. No one in Minneapolis, if that is where it is, had a clue. Nor did they care. How do I know they’re not coming on my property next? They simply would not and could not answer.

Years ago I spoke with a Colorado State Patrol sergeant about a UPS driver doing things UPS drivers sometimes do. He said “Deny, deny, deny.” While it is a different world today with smartphones and (perhaps) people like me who can see it coming–I see the road in front of my house–they still think no one is watching. Or that they can or will do anything about it. A short while ago I had a Comcast man tell me he didn’t walk in a place and everyone–the police called by a neighbor and that neighbor–could clearly see tracks in the snow. The deputy made the guy and the people pull the very large ladder over the fence. That is lesson #1: they are going to deny.

I did not request cards from the two police officers. I was composed and did not argue much; I did not want to get into the property lines or locations of the poles and wires. I was armed with the expressed knowledge that the officer who knew what he was talking about and stood on the spot said they need to do it directly from the road, fence or not. I knew they would not do anything–primarily I wanted their security and to put a report on file that I will not tolerate this. But, they didn’t even walk up to the spot where the four of them were crowded under the pole. They warned that the culprits will be back. I am tempted to track the officers down or contact the sheriff through an online form.

Next, I’ll see if I have some more ideas tomorrow. Oh, I also contacted the Xcel easement department. They have an email address online. Apparently they expect people to contact them if they are considering building anything that will restrict access to their precious poles. They have a very broad interpretation of their access, communication, customer service, and easement responsibility. But they also report on their website they have to own it or have paid a fee for it. I am not aware that they have a right for anything except the shortest, quickest route to the pole. They could ask for it, but given their crews I would never grant such permission without asking for it in writing. They cannot own the sky–a property owner does have rights for the space above their property–but companies with business on the poles have a right to string their wires. If there is an easement it is entirely off, and not between, my lot and my neighbor’s. In other words, the poles are obstructed by their fenced in area and the wires are above it.

While awareness by Xcel may help slightly, I do not think anyone will do anything substantial. Just like the police, management–if they respond–are not inclined to accept responsibility, discipline anyone, or provide a legal description of the specific area.

Another idea? I wonder if I can hire a security guard for protection at Stagecoach Park. He or she may help in my backyard as well.

Writing it helps identify the issues, and to remember. I continue to expand my knowledge of my legal rights. The manager’s card (I’m not going to dox now) could help.

In the meantime, can you imagine? I say that a lot. Can you imagine working at Xcel Energy?

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