Safety & Security

The difference between power lines and telecom lines

Know who to call when you spot a problem

Many of PEC’s power poles support more than just our electric lines. They often also carry telecom wires that bring services like cable and telephone 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. They are attached to the pole with insulators that prevent electricity from burning the pole.

Cable and phone lines are lower on the pole and usually attach directly without insulators. These lines operate at much lower voltages, and can continue to function even if trees are growing into them or if they’re on the ground.

Picture displaying electric and cable/phone lines

Telecom lines will sometimes be carried on their own poles, separate from poles carrying power lines. These poles are typically smaller than power poles, with no electric equipment like transformers or insulators attached. PEC-owned power line poles will have a PEC pole number attached to it.

While telecom lines are frequently attached to PEC’s poles, we do not operate or maintain them. Despite operating at lower voltages than power lines, these lines 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 the electric lines, please report the issue to PEC at 888-883-3379.

Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or death. If you see a downed line, call our emergency report line immediately: 888-883-3329. If telecom lines are the issue, contact the local phone or cable provider.