Know what’s on a pole, at your home

Getting familiar with utility equipment could help you during an outage

There’s a lot of electric equipment out in your city and in your neighborhood these days. As demand has grown for electricity over the years and improvements have been made to your service, more equipment has been added to poles, underground service, and on your home.

Some of this equipment is ours, some of it is yours, and some of it belongs to an entirely different company. Most of the time, you might not think about these devices, and that’s OK. But during an emergency, it’s important for you to understand what everything is so you know what to do.

Who owns what?

If issues arise with maintaining equipment, knowing who owns what will help determine next steps. When your power goes out, you should check the breakers in your home before reporting it to PEC. Most homes have two breakers, one on the side of your meter and one inside your home in the main fuse box. If you reset them and your power is still off, it’s time to report your outage.

PEC can help determine whether the problem is with our equipment or yours. Please note, PEC cannot perform any work on member-owned equipment. Instead, you should contact a certified electrician for help.

The difference between power lines and telecom lines

 Looking up at the lines, it can be confusing trying to understand what they serve. PEC’s power poles not only support our electric lines, but often also carry telecom wires that bring cable and telephone service to members’ homes. It is important to know the difference in order to properly diagnose safety issues.

On poles with both types of lines, electric wires are typically higher off the ground, and attached with insulators. Cable and phone lines are lower on the pole and usually attach without insulators.

Telecom lines will sometimes be attached to their own poles. These poles are usually smaller than power poles, with no electric equipment like transformers and insulators attached. Our power line poles will have a PEC pole number attached to it.

PEC does not maintain telecom lines, even if they are attached to PEC-owned power poles. Despite operating at lower voltages than power lines, they can still be dangerous, so stay at least 10 feet away if you see an issue.

If there is something wrong with the pole itself or if you see vegetation growing into electric lines, please report the issue to PEC at 888-883-3379. You can learn more about vegetation standards here.

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