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The first step to working safely around power lines is to call the utility to determine voltages of all power lines in the project area. Working safely around power lines takes planning and safe work practices:

  • The danger of overhead power lines is that there is no protection on the wire, so if you contact an overhead wire you or the equipment you are operating can be its path to ground.
  • Determine the required limits of approach based on the voltage of the power line. No work can encroach on this distance. If the voltage is unknown, no work is permitted within 7 m of energized electrical equipment.
  • Use caution when moving equipment or tools around overhead lines. This includes cranes, backhoes, scaffolding, long lengths of pipe, etc. If a large piece of equipment runs the risk of encroaching the safe limit of approach distance, a designated signaler whose only job is to maintain a safe zone must be assigned.
  • EPCOR may be able to install "line identification". This is a PVC pipe not used for protecting lines, but to make them easier to see. Lines may sometimes be temporarily moved or protected. Contact EPCOR for assistance.
  • A power pole may need to be supported if the excavation is too close and too deep.
  • If overhead power lines are contacted or laying on the ground, stay clear at least 10 m and call 911 or EPCOR Power Trouble at (780) 412-4500.
    • If there is no immediate risk to the operator's safety, ask them to remain in the vehicle until an EPCOR representative tells them it is safe to exit.

    • If there is a fire or other immediate danger, have them safely exit the vehicle.

In Edmonton, our utility poles are used to support overhead power lines and various other public utilities, such as communication cable, fibre optic cable, and related equipment such as transformers and street lights. The higher the line is on the pole, the more dangerous it is.

These graphics from WheresTheLine.ca show the height of different vehicles and overhead lines.

For more information:

  • Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code: Part 6 Cranes, Hoists, and Lifting Devices, Part 17 Overhead Power Lines.
  • Alberta Electrical Utility Code: Rule 2-016, Table 5 Minimum Vertical Design Clearances Above Ground or Rails, Division H, Tree Work Near Energized Electrical Equipment or Lines Performed by Utility Tree Trimmers, Utility Tree Workers or Other Workers.
  • CSA 22.3 No. 1-15 Overhead Systems, 4.1.4 Climbing Space, 4.1.7 Vegetation Management, 5.3 Vertical Design Clearances and Separations, 5.3.1 Vertical Design Clearances of Wires and Conductors Above Ground or Rails, 5.3.1.1 Basic Clearances.

Anatomy of a power pole

Communication Lines

The communication cable lines are maintained by local cable/telephone providers. If there is an issue with these lines, please contact the local cable/telephone provider.

 

Power Service Lines

Service lines run from the main power pole to the home or business. These lines are also maintained by EPCOR and carry lower voltage. The insulation on these lines may become damaged or worn over time, and contact should be avoided! Minimum distance = 1/3 m.

 

Secondary Lines

Secondary overhead lines are the wires that run from pole to pole. They are typically located directly below the primary lines in the middle of the pole. These lines are maintained by EPCOR and carry lower voltage. The insulation on these lines may become damaged or worn over time, and contact should be avoided! Minimum distance = 1 m.

 

Primary Lines

Primary lines are the main wires that run from pole to pole and bring electricity to the neighbourhood. They are typically located at the top of the pole and do not run to the home or business. These lines are maintained by EPCOR and carry high voltage, which is extremely dangerous. Minimum distance = 7 m.

 

Transmission Power Lines

​Transmission lines can be located on steel towers and on wooden poles that also have distribution lines on them. They carry electricity to substations from generation plants. They are extremely dangerous. Permissions from EPCOR are required before doing any work on a transmission line. Permission must be received even if the line is on your property. This is to ensure your safety as well as service continuity.

 

 

Tree Trimming

​We will trim trees from service lines in emergency situations only. The homeowner is responsible for the disposal of fallen trees or trimmed branches related to service lines on private property.

Tree trimming by EPCOR

In emergency situations like the ones listed below, we will trim tree limbs in the following categories at no cost to customers. Please contact 310-4300 or (780) 412-4500 to arrange for tree trimming if the vegetation:

  • Interferes with or have the potential to interfere with existing primary and secondary lines.
  • Obstructs the route of new primary and secondary lines.
  • Are damaging or affecting the integrity of service lines.

Tree trimming by contractor or homeowner

Power pole to house service lines are the responsibility of the homeowner. EPCOR will temporarily drop service lines for customers wishing to trim trees safely. Ensure adherence and knowledge of the Limits of Approach as outlined in this document.

 

Moving or Lifting Overhead Wires
​Never attempt to move or raise an electrical conductor with a board or stick. Never approach or touch an electrical conductor that is lying on the ground; it may be energized or become energized. If possible, the area should be barricaded or guarded to prevent injury.
High Loads – Oversized Loads

​EPCOR provides oversized-load escorts throughout the City of Edmonton, assisting transporters in planning their route and adjusting the necessary infrastructure to allow them to arrive at their destination safely and on time. Anything over 13.6 ft. (4.15 m) is 'over height' and requires a permit for transport on public roads and highways from Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation.

Alberta Transportation:

1 (800) 662-7138
1 (403) 342-7138

City of Edmonton:

Permits call 311

It may be necessary to involve other utilities including cable, telephone or other electric utilities. It is the mover's responsibility to ensure all affected utilities have been contacted to escort the load safely.

Due to operational requirements, we cannot guarantee the move will occur on the date requested, so please provide as much advance notice as possible. Related costs are dependent on the distance and requirements of the move such as power outages, equipment, and labour. Note: If your move is scheduled at a time when there is a power emergency, EPCOR's priority will always be to restore power, which can result in your move being delayed.