uFixIt: Repairing a cracked power pole

February 22, 2012 7:12:49 PM PST
Many of us drive a lot of miles every day, focusing on what's ahead in a rush to get home safe. But who would think to look up to make sure the path is clear?

One man did and saw a splintered high-voltage pole that could break off. He contacted the ABC7 News I-Team to help him get rid of the hazard. His story is part of uFixIt Week, where we take your complaints to the people in charge and get results.

Long Vu noticed a fractured PG&E power pole near the intersection of Capitol Expressway and Capitol Avenue in San Jose on his daily commute. He worried it could come down in traffic ? a thought, he says, keeps him up at night.

"It's very lethal, it can kill. So as a concerned citizen, I just want to make sure that we are safe," Vu said.

Vu, who is an electrical engineer, knows what he's talking about. He tells us, to put things in perspective, a common household wall socket is 110 volts. PG&E told us the wire help up by the pole carries 12,000 volts -- a charge that could easily be fatal.

PG&E says they actually tagged this pole for replacement last year. But after we called they put it on the fast track. Now it will be fixed by the end of next month, they say.

But the agency also claims the cracked pole is not a danger for passing drivers.

"So even though it looks deteriorated, we have tagged it but it isn't in a condition where it would pose any sort of safety issue for our customers or our service," PG&E spokesperson Monica Tell said.

Vu disagrees. He says that much voltage is not something to take chances on. He warns his wife and daughter, who also drive here every day, to stay alert.

"I just tell them that when they come to the corner of Capitol Express and Capitol Avenue, just pay attention," he said.

PG&E called again Wednesday. They saw us mention this story Tuesday evening, and decided to move up the repair. The pole will now be replaced Saturday.

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