Power Line Safety for Homeowners
Every year, hundreds of Albertans put their lives on the line by coming into contact with overhead or underground power lines. Knowing how to spot the danger is key whether on the worksite or in your own backyard.
As the weather warms up and homeowners begin DIY projects around the house, such as landscaping or building outdoor structures, the number of residential power line contacts skyrockets. These contacts can cause power outages, damage to electrical infrastructure, or even lead to injury or death.
If you'll be working out in the yard this year, here's how to prevent costly power line incidents.
Always plan ahead to prevent underground power line contacts
Before starting any work that requires you to disturb the ground, always contact Alberta One-Call and submit a locate request. Utilities could be buried just beneath the surface of your yard and an Alberta One-Call representative will locate and mark them so that you can proceed with your project safely.
Stay at least 7 metres away from overhead power lines at all times
Whether you're working with scaffolding, ladders, brooms or chainsaws, always be aware of where power lines are located around your property and stay at least 7 metres away. If you need to work closer than 7 metres to an overhead power line, contact your local utility company before doing so.
Practice safe planting and maintenance around overhead power lines
Property owners are responsible for trees that interfere with their own service line, which runs from the pole line to your house. If the trees on your property are close to or are in contact with your service line, don't attempt to trim them yourself and contact a trained arborist.
When planting trees, always make an effort to position them far away from overhead power lines.
Keep transformers on your property safe and accessible
Your local utility company must have unrestricted access to transformers at all times to maintain the system. Keep transformers on your property clear of obstacles, plants and shrubs.
When planting near a transformer, consider the changing size of the plant as it matures and allow for safe clearance. Typically, 3 metres is required in front of a locked transformer door and at least 1-2 metres clearance on either side. In some cases, your local utility company may determine that more clearance is required to properly maintain and operate the transformer.
If at any time you have questions about power lines on or around your property, contact your local utility company.