CPS Energy replaces leaning pole after man calls Defenders

Man feared utility pole endangered family

SAN ANTONIO – A homeowner who complained to the KSAT 12 Defenders about a leaning utility pole in his yard has now gotten the pole replaced after the KSAT Defenders contacted CPS Energy.

The pole was in the backyard of a North Side home owned by Mike Austin and had a 1,500-pound transformer on top.

"This pole has been in this condition for about six years," Austin said. "And it's gradually gotten worse. We've had CPS come out a number of times and when they walk in the gate they all go, 'Wow.'"

But until he contacted the Defenders, CPS Energy had taken little action.

He has been worried about his daughter's safety.

"That pole, the top could just snap and come crashing down in her bedroom," Austin said. "So we think it's a safety issue."

He said he called the company in June. Then followed up in August and in November before finally emailing the Defenders.

The Defenders contacted CPS Energy and within five days, a crew was at the house digging a hole for a new pole. The next day a new pole arrived and was installed.

James Boston, CPS Energy's manager of overhead engineering, said the company knew the pole needed to be replaced.

"It's definitely something CPS wants to remediate," Boston said. "We did deem that it needed to be replaced and it was a non-priority because, again, the pole was still structurally sound."

Boston said it was on the schedule to be replaced when the Defenders intervened.

"A majority of our poles are structurally sound," Boston said. "We rarely find those that lean in this way. And we usually replace it before it gets to that point. This pole in question was already in our process to be replaced."

Either way, Mike Austin is relieved and credits the Defenders for speeding up the process.

"(I'm) very, very grateful," Austin said. "(I) appreciate your help."

The pole in his yard was 28 years old. CPS Energy said some poles they have are still structurally sound at 60 years old.

Boston said the company inspects 35,000 poles each year out of the 350,000 they have in the ground.