LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - Who owns the utility pole in your front yard? That’s a question that Monica Butko has been asking for over a month now, but she’s still searching for the answer.
Butko, who lives on Arthur Avenue in Lakewood, said her family owned the home in 1969 when the utility pole went out front. It’s a wooden pole, which has seen some wear and tear in the last 50 years.
Butko said she didn’t mind that, until it started leaning in the direction of her property. That’s when she started to try and figure out who owned it.
She narrowed it down to the electric company, the phone company and the city, and called them all.
"AT&T says it's CEI's, CEI is saying it's AT&T. The city is saying they don't know whose pole it is. The city should know whose pole it is, because if you are in charge of streets and you have maps, then you would have to know whose pole this is," said Butko.
It turns out, it's not simple to determine who owns a utility pole.
Many states, including Ohio, allow multiple utility companies to own the same pole. In other cases, one company owns the pole, and other utilities pay a usage fee.
The plate on this pole on Arthur Avenue reads “312,” which doesn’t match the 5- or 6-digit code for the electric company listed on the city of Lakewood’s website.
However, there is a streetlight at the top of the pole, and Butko says it still comes on every night.
Butko said she’s worried not only for herself, but the safety of her neighborhood.
"My house can be replaced, but what if there's life involved? That is not going to be something you can replace," she said.
On Thursday afternoon, Cleveland 19 reached out to the city of Lakewood, The Illuminating Co. and AT&T.
We heard back from both The Illuminating Company and AT&T, who both told us they would look into the address and serial number and try to determine who really owns the pole on Arthur Avenue.