Get off that Pole: 3 Keys to Getting Attachers to Transfer

Posted by Ashley Little on May 22, 2014

get_off_that_poleThe utility pole to utility pole attachment transfer process generally goes something like this: A utility pole is damaged, by any number of forces. Dry rot may have impaired its structure. A woodpecker may have made it her home. A car might have splintered it near its base. Regardless, after discovering the problem, if the pole owner determines that a new pole is necessary, they will set one. Now, it is time for the pole’s various attachers—from CLECs to CATV, power and beyond—to transfer equipment from the old to new pole before the damaged one can be removed.

This is where the wheels of progress often grind to a halt.

Everyone is busy and the number of attachers to contact to move their equipment may be long, but leaving double wood standing can be hazardous. What can you do to ensure your attachers make the move in a timely fashion, without causing you a 40-foot tall headache in the process?

1) Enforce contractual agreements.  You and your attachers signed contracts for a reason. If an attacher fails—or outright refuses—to perform a needed transfer in a timely manner, utility pole owners owe it to themselves to consult and then enforce the contract with that attacher. If your attacher ultimately declines to move the equipment or simply neglects to respond to reasonable requests, based on the terms of your contract, you have the right to levy a monetary fine against that attacher. If this fails to work, legal action may be necessary.

2) Bill promptly if you are performing the make-ready. In emergency instances, where a pole has been struck by a car or sustained severe storm damage, utilities will often replace the structure and transfer attachers themselves. ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT? Can we cite where you found that? The key is to ensure you are billing attachers accurately and timely, then follow up on your invoices to ensure prompt payment.

3) Beware the dual-pole debacle. Double wood causes a number of issues. From community complaints about blocked visibility and obstructed sidewalks to dangerous situations caused by damaged poles that may fall, leaving double wood in your care is tempting fate. A downed pole full of un-transferred attachments is not good for your attachers’ quality of service either. It may be effective to remind them.

You may be thinking – “Easy for you to say.”

We agree. Doing these things efficiently is difficult without tools designed for your industry. Having the following systems and procedures in place can make the job much easier, and make transfers go more smoothly for everyone.

  • Audit: Conduct frequent field audits of all utility poles to verify existing attachers, collect new data and test poles for rot or other structural issues.
  • Inventory: Use integrated software solutions to catalog all company and foreign-owned attachments.
  • Consolidate: Make all your utility pole information as well as attacher contracts, correspondence and invoices searchable and easy to find by keeping them in one place via a joint use management solution.
  • Communicate: Use online joint use management communication software to simplify all correspondence between you and your attachers, cutting down on confusion and time spent contacting multiple companies for one pole transfer.

Transfers have to happen, but they do not have to derail your everyday operations. With the right tools, even the most complex of attachment transfers can go smoothly and quickly, fostering healthier relationships between all parties involved.

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