Do you ever wonder what purpose the equipment on a power pole serves? While it may look complicated, each piece serves a very important role. When you look at the power poles in your neighborhood, you’re likely going to see a combination of the following:
- Primary wires
Primary power lines carry high-voltage electricity from the nearby substation to the transformer.
Insulators are made of materials that do not conduct electricity, and are used anywhere a live element does, or could, contact a non-insulated surface. This allows the insulators to safely connect the live wires to the pole.
Not all poles have crossarms, but they are necessary in common three-phase, or three-wire, configurations like this one.
- Lightning arresters
Lightning or surge arresters are designed to protect PEC’s equipment from dangerous surges in electricity, most commonly caused by lightning. When a surge hits an arrester, it diverts the electric current safely to the ground.
- Pole ground wire
This copper wire provides electricity a path to the ground to prevent hazardous voltages from affecting equipment.
Transformers are used all over the electric grid to convert electricity to different voltages. The transformers you see on poles decrease voltage from the primary wires to the power used in your home. Transformers can also be housed in a steel box on the ground if the electric service is connected underground.
- Neutral line
The neutral wire provides a return path for electric current to the source and is part of the grounding circuit.
- Secondary service drop
These wires carry power from the transformer to the home or business where the electricity will be used.