Commonly Asked Questions
Why do your contractors have to cut down trees that are not touching the lines?
Your Cooperative has to account for not only lines in the air but also when the lines come down as a result of wind or ice damage. Once lines are down, Line workers have to hook onto them and pull them back into the air. Many times this requires Linemen to walk through, ditches, revenes, and wooded areas. Trees and brush under and adjacent to the power lines can be very dangerous for Line workers and other utility personnel to work around. Trees and brush can also hide downed power lines that may be energized and could kill Line workers, members of the public or livestock. It is important that the power line corridor is free from all obstacles.
Why do you not put all of the power lines under ground?
There are several reasons why. Cost is definitely a consideration. Underground cable is more expensive per foot. It also cost more to install and most of the time requires additional equipment. In some areas the terrain does not allow for underground cable installation such as rock shelves or deep ravines. In some cases the installation corridor is already full with other utilities such as fiber optic cable, phone cable, gas lines and water lines. Underground cable is also more difficult and time consuming to repair, especially in the winter when the ground may be frozen.
Why do I see some poles with painted “X” or ribbon around them?
This most usually indicates that the pole is due to be changed out or some sort of activity will be happening around that pole in the near future. You should stay away from these poles as they may be partially rotted or damaged in some way. If you find a pole like this in your yard, there is no need to panic. It is most likely not an immediate danger. If it was the Cooperative would let you know and address the situation as soon as possible.
Why is there different colored flags and paint markings on the ground near my utility pole?
These markings were placed by other utility companies as a result of the Iowa One Call program. This is sometimes referred to as “Call before you dig”. This is another indication that we may be changing the pole out in the near future. The Cooperative must know where the other utilities are so we do not damage them.
Can I hang birdhouses or other decorative items on my utility poles? What about landscaping around my pole?
The National Electric Safety Code prohibits any attachment not related to the purpose and function of the pole. Your utility can get in trouble by regulatory agencies and insurance companies if it allows others to hang such items on the poles. In addition this is a safety hazard for the line workers. In some cases Line workers are required to climb the pole. These items can prohibit them from climbing the pole or could injure them if they would fall. The same applies for landscaping around the base of the poles. Flowers are generally okay, but rocks or other solid objects should be moved away from the base of the pole.
I see a guy wire that is really loose. Why does it even have to be on the pole?
Movement of the pole over time can cause guy wires to become loose. Even though they are loose now, they may not be in windy conditions or during the winter when the wire contracts and “pulls” the pole over resulting in the guy wire becoming tight once again. In some cases the anchor rod which is underground and attaches to the guy wire will break from corrosion causing the guy wire to become loose. The Cooperative tries to identify these loose guy wires through routine inspection programs and make repairs if necessary. Never cut a loose guy wire under any circumstances. You may be putting your life and others at risk.
What are in the green colored boxes you installed for my electric service? Is it a danger to my kids or pets?
The green boxes are either electric transformers or cable junction boxes. These boxes are generally safe but we recommend that you heed the warning stickers and do not touch them or have your kids play on or next to them, just in case there was a rare situation something failed inside these boxes. We also ask that you do not landscape around these boxes either. Digging around these boxes may result in serious injury. Landscaping can also delay quick and easy access to these boxes by Line workers. If you notice any strange noises or notice anything leaking from these boxes, please call your Cooperative so we can come check it out for you.
What is the "Fixed Monthly Charge" on my bill each month?
This charge allows SIEC to recover some of the fixed costs associated with having the "poles & wires" at your location. It is charged regardless of the amount of electricity you use in a month.
How much will it cost to disconnect & reconnect for seasonal services?
The disconnect fee is $50 and the reconnect fee is $80.25. If a service is disconnected for 6 months or longer then you may be required to have the service inspected by the State of Iowa.