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ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

Bell Lines vs. Tree

Hello all,

I just had an interesting conversation with the Bell Repair department. I looked into the back yard to see that a tree in obvious distress is pressing down on the aerial cables passing beneath it.

Being a proactive person, I decided to telephone Bell to let them know before many of their telephone, Internet and television customers (myself included) would potentially be without service.

Their response? Apparently I need to hire a tree trimming company.

The only problem with that idea is that the tree isn't on my property, nor does the tree overhang my property. Accordingly, I have no ability to rectify the situation myself.

I have no idea who the neighbor is (I think the residents are renters anyway - loud party types to boot), so I doubt approaching them would help.

I asked the agent again if there was anything else that could be done, and they said not unless the line was damaged.

Way to go Bell! Apparently you'd rather spend money unnecessarily on costly repairs than dispatch someone to clear the trouble first.

Boggles the mind...

-- SS



ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

Update

I just called Rogers, as they also have lines running down the same corridor and they took my information to pass along to the maintenance folks.

Now - the agent may have been just trying to appease me, but the response was to me at least somewhat more professional.

The only difference? I'm NOT a Rogers customer!

Anyway - I'll keep an eye on the back to see if anything improves... hopefully something is done before the tree takes out the cables there!

-- SS



laughable

@bell.ca
reply to ssherwood

Yup, that sounds like a predictable response from one of their outsourced call centres, full of employees who are not empowered to do anything other than prescribed form-based answers.

Just up the street from me there's one of those bulky aerial cable bundles that Bell has classically ignored maintenance; it started to sag too low for proper vehicular clearance through the driveway below, so the property owner hammered together two 2x4s to prop up the cable. Ridiculously inappropriate solution, but not far from this, one of the Bell-owned wooden utility poles (they're the only service on the pole) almost entirely collapsed due to rotting/age, and the only way I could get it repaired was to inform the local municipality, since it was in front of public parkland. They have contact information for "real" Bell employees, not the 611 clowns.



rebmem

@rogers.com
reply to ssherwood

The tree always has the upperhand over the lines and usually wins. Bell or Rogers would rather not cut down trees in backyards as it is private property. Some home owners are either too cheap or could care less about their trees damaging the infrastructure.


InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
reply to ssherwood

I'm guessing the reason Bell is not bothering to clear branches around lines until lines go down is because Bell cannot seek damages/compensation against the municipality or owner's insurance until the lines go down.

For Bell, it is cheaper to wait since repairs are out of someone else's pockets.



ChuckcZar

@teksavvy.com
reply to ssherwood

Phone lines are supposed to be underground or on hydro poles not on trees.


AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to ssherwood

What do you expect Bell to do about a tree on private property?
If the tree downs the lines, then they can go after the owner, but before, they are not entitled to do anything to that tree.


kovy

join:2009-03-26
kudos:8
reply to ssherwood

Hydro would say the same thing...



Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to ssherwood

Flip side of things, if Bell and Rogers came along and cut out all vegetation within their utility corridor (aerials to homes are the homeowners problem), just imagine the bloody uproar of homeowners complaining about all the damage, destruction of nature, etc. etc. etc. and rant about it to every media outlet and orifice they can find.

Case in point, the endless news stories about upset homeowners after municipalities cutting down ash trees on public spaces because of the damage caused by Emerald Ash Borer: "Oh, the neighbourhood is ruined", "my house values have dropped.", "why can't they replant the 40/60/80 ft. tree with a new one the same size, on the same day?", "This isn't very environmentally sensitive." and of course "my children are all upset/think of the children/what about the children?".



ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

said by Thane_Bitter:

Flip side of things, if Bell and Rogers came along and cut out all vegetation within their utility corridor (aerials to homes are the homeowners problem), just imagine the bloody uproar of homeowners complaining about all the damage, destruction of nature, etc. etc. etc. and rant about it to every media outlet and orifice they can find.

...

I don't know - Hydro prunes all of the city trees in our area to allow their aerial cables to pass under/through them. It isn't exactly pretty when they are done, but with this kind of infrastructure, there really isn't a choice.

said by AsherN:

What do you expect Bell to do about a tree on private property?
If the tree downs the lines, then they can go after the owner, but before, they are not entitled to do anything to that tree.

I don't think that is accurate. Bell & Rogers have every right to maintain their property, even if it resides on someone else's property. I'm fairly certain that my property includes a utility right-of-way, as do all of the other homes on my street as there is no rear lane. My rear fence is immediately touching the right-of-way which in turn touches the property on the other side.

If Bell/Rogers needs to enter a property like mine with a utility right-of-way to service their equipment, they are probably legally entitled to do so. They also probably have to give non-customers some kind of notice before they can.

While they couldn't cut down the tree entirely, I'm sure some pruning would be perfectly within their right so long as it could be demonstrated as a reasonable step to protect their equipment, and it was done in a way that didn't damage the health of the tree.

Anyway - what do I expect them to do? Defend their property and their customers by taking proactive action when potential trouble is highlighted for them.

-- SS

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
reply to ssherwood

I had the exact same scenario. It took 4 years and a dozen calls.

Then when they did trim the tree they cut my phone line.



news

@videotron.ca
reply to ssherwood

It will probably be too much expensive to pay for trimming trees to prevent issues that probably will never happen. Less expensive to fix cable if a bad luck happen. Bell is a 125? years old company, they know their buisness more than you and me....

I suppose power is another story, cause power lines and trees can be dangerous for people, in bad, humid weather...



ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

said by news :

It will probably be too much expensive to pay for trimming trees to prevent issues that probably will never happen. Less expensive to fix cable if a bad luck happen. Bell is a 125? years old company, they know their buisness more than you and me....

I wasn't suggesting that they go around looking for trees to prune like Hydro does. I called them and told them about a specific problem. Big difference IMHO.

Hydro does it due to safety concerns. While Bell lines do have some voltage on them, it probably wouldn't be enough to be seriously dangerous.

Anyway - I called them. They ignored me.

Hypothetical situation : I wonder if I could sue for negligence if the tree broke my line after I told them repeatedly about it and I suffered some kind of harm due to a non working telephone service for 911 or similar.

It would be fairly tough for them to claim that they didn't know there was an issue, or that they couldn't have predicted the failure...

-- SS


ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON
reply to peterboro

said by peterboro:

Then when they did trim the tree they cut my phone line.

Sorry to say, but that made me laugh out loud. Hope they fixed you up quickly!

AsherN
Premium
join:2010-08-23
Thornhill, ON
reply to ssherwood

said by ssherwood:

said by Thane_Bitter:

Flip side of things, if Bell and Rogers came along and cut out all vegetation within their utility corridor (aerials to homes are the homeowners problem), just imagine the bloody uproar of homeowners complaining about all the damage, destruction of nature, etc. etc. etc. and rant about it to every media outlet and orifice they can find.

...

I don't know - Hydro prunes all of the city trees in our area to allow their aerial cables to pass under/through them. It isn't exactly pretty when they are done, but with this kind of infrastructure, there really isn't a choice.

said by AsherN:

What do you expect Bell to do about a tree on private property?
If the tree downs the lines, then they can go after the owner, but before, they are not entitled to do anything to that tree.

I don't think that is accurate. Bell & Rogers have every right to maintain their property, even if it resides on someone else's property. I'm fairly certain that my property includes a utility right-of-way, as do all of the other homes on my street as there is no rear lane. My rear fence is immediately touching the right-of-way which in turn touches the property on the other side.

If Bell/Rogers needs to enter a property like mine with a utility right-of-way to service their equipment, they are probably legally entitled to do so. They also probably have to give non-customers some kind of notice before they can.

While they couldn't cut down the tree entirely, I'm sure some pruning would be perfectly within their right so long as it could be demonstrated as a reasonable step to protect their equipment, and it was done in a way that didn't damage the health of the tree.

Anyway - what do I expect them to do? Defend their property and their customers by taking proactive action when potential trouble is highlighted for them.

-- SS

Pruning the tree is not maintaining their equipment. It does not matter how much the tree infringes on their lines. My neighbour has a large tree in his backyard. Some of the limbs were brushing against my roof. I called an arborist to take care of it. Still had to get written permisson from the neighbour to cut the branches over my property.


ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

Splitting hairs much? If the tree is interfering with their equipment and/or threatening the integrity of their network, it would be considered maintenance, and Bell would have every right to proactively fix the situation.

The tree in my situation is NOT adjacent to my property, nor does it overhang my property.

The law says you can trim branches which hang over your property. You don't require permission. The only requirement is that any trimming has to be done properly, and the overall health of the tree has to be respected.

Arborists asking for written permission are only trying to cover themselves in case of a later dispute. I have this situation happen every couple of years with one of my neighbors. She asks for my permission first because the arborist likes to trim the tree from my property. If he did it from her side, she wouldn't need to ask first. I have never been asked to sign anything.



news

@videotron.ca
reply to ssherwood

said by ssherwood:

I wasn't suggesting that they go around looking for trees to prune like Hydro does. I called them and told them about a specific problem. Big difference IMHO.

-- SS

Trees pressing down aerial cables is common. Bell Canada have so many customers and networks on a very large territory, there's maybe hundreds of call about this, you are not the only one. If there's 2 millions Bell customers (probably more) and if there's only 0.1% of this customers calling for this kind of issue, that means 2000 service calls for trimming trees.

You worry too much...


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
reply to ssherwood

said by ssherwood:

Splitting hairs much? If the tree is interfering with their equipment and/or threatening the integrity of their network, it would be considered maintenance, and Bell would have every right to proactively fix the situation.

The tree in my situation is NOT adjacent to my property, nor does it overhang my property.

The law says you can trim branches which hang over your property. You don't require permission. The only requirement is that any trimming has to be done properly, and the overall health of the tree has to be respected.

Arborists asking for written permission are only trying to cover themselves in case of a later dispute. I have this situation happen every couple of years with one of my neighbors. She asks for my permission first because the arborist likes to trim the tree from my property. If he did it from her side, she wouldn't need to ask first. I have never been asked to sign anything.

Ultimately, its up to the homeowner in question who owns the tree, if the tree is on public property, then it'd be up to the city...otherwise, here is what will happen...

In theory if the tree "snaps" these wires, bell will simply come back out and restring it. Its not negligence on their part, its negligence on whoever owns the tree's part...so I think you're trying to point the finger at bell when infact you need to point the finger at the homeowner who has decided that maintenance of his /her property isn't important....


ssherwood
Premium
join:2002-02-23
Toronto, ON

said by nitzguy:

Ultimately, its up to the homeowner in question who owns the tree, if the tree is on public property, then it'd be up to the city...otherwise, here is what will happen...

In theory if the tree "snaps" these wires, bell will simply come back out and restring it. Its not negligence on their part, its negligence on whoever owns the tree's part...so I think you're trying to point the finger at bell when infact you need to point the finger at the homeowner who has decided that maintenance of his /her property isn't important....

You are right - the homeowner should be the one responsible for maintaining the tree in this case as it is in their back yard, and thus not a city tree.

Still, I would hope for a more proactive response from Bell, but I guess they have their reasons. Someone, somewhere in Bell probably calculated it costs them less to fix broken lines than trim branches before the damage occurs.

The whole conversation about if Bell has the right to do it though is separate, and in my view they absolutely do have that right if they choose to leverage it.

Clearly though Bell has decided to cede responsibility to the home owner. Sucks for the rest of us though to have to rely on the whim of whoever lives down the block from you for reliable services...


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON

said by ssherwood:

said by nitzguy:

Ultimately, its up to the homeowner in question who owns the tree, if the tree is on public property, then it'd be up to the city...otherwise, here is what will happen...

In theory if the tree "snaps" these wires, bell will simply come back out and restring it. Its not negligence on their part, its negligence on whoever owns the tree's part...so I think you're trying to point the finger at bell when infact you need to point the finger at the homeowner who has decided that maintenance of his /her property isn't important....

You are right - the homeowner should be the one responsible for maintaining the tree in this case as it is in their back yard, and thus not a city tree.

Still, I would hope for a more proactive response from Bell, but I guess they have their reasons. Someone, somewhere in Bell probably calculated it costs them less to fix broken lines than trim branches before the damage occurs.

The whole conversation about if Bell has the right to do it though is separate, and in my view they absolutely do have that right if they choose to leverage it.

Clearly though Bell has decided to cede responsibility to the home owner. Sucks for the rest of us though to have to rely on the whim of whoever lives down the block from you for reliable services...

Well, that'd be convenient for the homeowner, ceede their responsibility to Bell/Cable co to take care of their property?

Here's what will happen if anything, the company won't trim the branches, they will simply restring their lines....

And you're right, its cheaper to fix their equipment vs. having tree trimming person come out...that's why the city does it for the city trees and that's why having trees on your property isn't a free lunch...or at least ones that can encumber aerial equipment.

They wouldn't do it though....and the homeowner is free to treat their trees as they see fit, perhaps look through your local bylaws to have bylaw enforcement take a look at it if possible?


DS256
Premium
join:2003-10-25
Markham, ON
reply to ssherwood

Interesting thread.

I had a similar experience in cottage country in Muskoka. I notice a tree straining against a major bell line (not just a home line) along the road. The cable was the only thing holding the tree up.

Call Bell. They didn't know who to inform. Email a buddy who works for Bell. He didn't know who handled it.

So, I guess they respond to outages but not prevention.


InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

said by DS256:

So, I guess they respond to outages but not prevention.

Probably because repairs are covered by Bell's insurance while prevention which is the land owner's responsibility is not.

HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5

said by InvalidError:

said by DS256:

So, I guess they respond to outages but not prevention.

Probably because repairs are covered by Bell's insurance while prevention which is the land owner's responsibility is not.

Bell self insures for anything that small, so I doubt that.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net

InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

said by HeadSpinning:

Bell self insures for anything that small, so I doubt that.

And I bet part of that self-insurance include staff dedicated to contacting the land owner's insurance to file claims against the owner's insurance just like an external insurer would.

HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5

said by InvalidError:

said by HeadSpinning:

Bell self insures for anything that small, so I doubt that.

And I bet part of that self-insurance include staff dedicated to contacting the land owner's insurance to file claims against the owner's insurance just like an external insurer would.

No. They contract that out to Claimspro. They don't use their own staff.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net