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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:
  • Overhead power lines are dangerous and not insulated. If you contact an overhead line, you or your equipment can be badly damaged as electricity can use you or the equipment you are operating as a pathway to the ground.
  • Contact EPCOR's Safety Codes Officer at; they will 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.
  • We 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. Refer to the Accidental Contact section for more information.
    • 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 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, Basic Clearances.

Distribution power line​

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 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 = 7 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.