PSI: Fixing a leaning tower of power

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Julia Knox watched from the porch of her northwest Charlotte home as another spring storm thundered into the neighborhood.

"A gush of wind came," said Knox. "The fire started shooting from the transformer and the pole just kind of swayed."

The swaying pole pulled the power lines right off her neighbor's house.

"(The sparks) scared me a lot," said Knox. "I immediately got inside."

Electricity in the neighborhood was out for a day.  Knox's neighbor had to have the power box and wires re-attached to her home.  As for the pole, which also held the wires to Knox's home, the wind had left it badly leaning

"I'm afraid this pole is going to snap and cause a whole lot of damage," said Knox.

Knox has lived in her home for nearly 40 years.  A few years back an ice storm ripped the lines off her home.  It cost her $850 to make the repairs.  She says she has no interest in paying for repairs again.  She called Duke Energy to try to get the pole straightened up.

"When I called they say they would get back to me in 72 hours," said Knox.

Three days had turned into three weeks with no call back.

"Its very frustrating. I'm not a rich person," said Knox. "I live paycheck to paycheck and I just don't have this kind of money to replace something that can be prevented."

WBTV contacted Duke Energy and heard back from spokesperson Jason Walls.

"Safety is paramount here," said Walls.

He says while the wires going to Knox's home are Duke Energy's the pole actually belongs to AT&T which Walls says can cause delays in repairs.

"We've sent a crew out and identified that it wasn't our pole," said Walls. "But we also recognized that this is a safety situation that needs to be addressed and our folks are addressing it."

Repair crews were on the scene this week.  They were digging, re-wiring and in the end straightening the utility pole.  The work eased the stress, not only on the wires, but also on Julia Knox.

"This is home for me," said Knox.

Fixing the leaning pole may have also headed off another potential problem in the same neighborhood.  Tree limbs have grown around many of the wires in the area.  Duke Energy says an assessment team will be sent to see if trimming needs to be done.

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