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Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEMarch 17, 2022by AndrewWhat Can a 7,200-Volt Power Line Do?

With electricity, what you don’t know, or maybe more so, what you think you know but don’t, can actually kill. There are legends, myths stuff we see from Hollywood and great internet sources which aren’t so accurate, especially when it comes to common sense and safety. Power lines, which typically carry 7,200 volts per line, are necessary to everyday life and the wellbeing of our community. So we need them. They are dangerous, though, if you don’t know a little about being around them and what dangers electricity can lead to.

Basic Safety Around Power Lines

    • Stay away from downed lines

Any downed or damaged power line should be considered live and 100% dangerous. Stay away from any downed line and keep others, children and animals away. You should not try to get to or remove a person or pet caught in fallen lines. Do not try to move tree limbs or any nearby debris near a fallen power line.

Call 911, law enforcement, the fire department, the proper utility company or electric technicians for help.

    • Do not climb electric poles or towers

Do not climb, play on, work on or do anything close enough for an accidental contact or nearby electric current to strike near a power pole, line or tower. An overhead power line normally carries about 7,200 volts. Transmission towers can carry more than 700,000 volts of electricity. These levels, and even a typical home electric current with 110 volts, can cause injury, damage or death.

Transmission towers and power lines convey huge amounts of electricity from stations to cities and buildings over long distances. The power is run to substations along the lines so it can be sent along circulation lines – where it goes to the common street, neighborhood and town power lines.

    • Never go into a substation

Unauthorized people should never go into an electric substation. You do not have the safety equipment or knowledge to be safe. You should not work or let anyone play too near a substation.

Never go into a substation
Never go into a substation
    • Don’t climb trees, play or work too close to power lines

First and foremost, the human body itself is a very good – aka risky – electric conductor. Electric currents – from lightning, a power line, and transmission structure – can pass through a human to the ground. You shouldn’t do any work with which there’s a risk of a ladder, a branch, a part of a body or any other device could touch a live line.

    • Don’t drive over or near a fallen line

Do all you can to keep a car or vehicle from touching or getting close to a power line. Stay away from a fallen, sagging or damaged line and any tree, limbs, debris, water or material which could be touching a line or wire.

If a power line falls on your vehicle while you are still in it, remain in the vehicle. Wait for help.

If you are in a vehicle in an accident involving hitting a power pole or line, you should stay in the car until help comes and makes sure it’s safe.

You should only leave the vehicle if it is on fire. In this situation, try to not touch metal and the ground at the same time. Try to stay out of water as much as possible. Try to get clear of the area by shuffling away to keep both feet on the ground as much as possible.

    • Take more caution in an area where a line could be down

During or after a storm, tornado, ice, flood or another event causing damage and the possibility of fallen lines, remember visibility could be less at night, during sunset or because of water, snow or debris.

    • Be aware with large, specialized vehicles

Vehicle or equipment operators using cranes, backhoes, dump trucks, booms and so on should always be careful and aware of overhead wires, lines and poles. The risk of contact is greater to workers on scaffolding or anyone working with tools near electric lines.

Before starting work, such as construction, you should know all codes, regulations, laws and standards if any of the project will be within 10 feet of a line including a typical distribution line of 7,200 volts.


High-Powered Myths

    • Power lines are sending the same electricity level, 110 volts, we use in a home or building.

Typical power lines carry 7,200 volts. Some have more voltage. Any electrocution at any voltage is dangerous. If you want to try and tell the power level by looking at a line or wire, you can’t. Coming into contact with any line could be deadly. It’s impossible to know the voltage or the type of line one is, be it electric, phone, TV or network, by looking at it.

    • When a power line snaps, drops or falls to the ground, or is damaged, it automatically goes dead

This is not true. It’s very likely the line is still live or active. This means the nearby ground, objects and certainly water or anything with moisture can be an active electric current. Even without obvious signs such as sparks, you should stay more than 20 feet away from a downed power line, and more if you don’t have good visibility around the area.

    • Power lines have insulation and coating to protect them and anyone touching them

This is false nearly all the time. You should never guess this is the case. Even with a coating, anyone or anything giving a potential grounding to a live current is at great risk. When we see birds on power lines and think it’s safe, birds are ok because they are not grounding the line and the current.

    • Rubber shoes, gloves or gear stops electricity

This is only true if the clothing or gear is 100% pure rubber and has no rips, holes or gaps at all. The protective gear electric lineworkers have is professional grade and constantly inspected. Gloves and shoes which aren’t pro level may be a mix of rubber which isn’t 100%. They could be made with cheaper content. They could have holes already or damage easier. These are by no means guaranteed to be safe with electricity.


Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide everything you need when thinking about a whole home generator for your home and family. Our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.