Electric Line Safety

Overhead Electric Lines

Electrical energy constantly seeks a path to the ground. If you touch an uninsulated line with an object or your body, you become this path. The result can be severe injury or death. When you are working around electric overhead lines, follow these rules:

  • Watch where you are going.
  • Stay clear.
  • Don’t touch.
  • Keep all machinery, equipment, materials, scaffolding tools, boat masts, fruit-picking poles, antennas, satellite dishes, pool skimmers handles, metal ladders and people, etc. at least 10 feet away from the lines. If it looks like they’ll be in your way, call us at 1-507-433-8886. Depending on the nature of your job, we may be able to turn off the electricity, cover the lines, or even move them while you complete your work.
  • Do not remove anything caught in electric lines -- not even an animal. Instead, call Austin Utilities immediately at 1-507-433-8886.

Underground Electric Lines

Hazards you don’t see, like underground electric lines, are easy to ignore or forget. Yet the danger is just as great. Digging, drilling or blasting can damage these underground lines and cause electrocution or fire.

To avoid accident, simply call Gopher State One-Call at 1-507-252-1166, or 811. They’ll send someone to your site to show you exactly where our lines are buried. Best of all, this service is free.

Fallen Electric Lines

Fallen electric lines are extremely dangerous.

Report any downed lines to Austin Utilities immediately by calling 1-507-433-8886. Never touch a downed line or anyone in contact with the line. Always assume a downed line is live.

Beware of a downed electric line touching a vehicle. Stay clear of the vehicle and the electric line. If an electric line touches your vehicle while you are inside, remain calm and follow these directions:

  • If you can do so safely, stay inside the vehicle until emergency help arrives.
  • Warn others to stay away from the vehicle and direct them to call Austin Utilities.
  • If you must get out of the vehicle for safety reasons, jump clear. Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.

Kite and Balloon Safety

Don’t fly kites or metallic or mylar balloons near electric lines. They can cause power outages and can injure you and others including Austin Utilities employees working on equipment. Follow the guidelines below to make kite and balloon flying safe for you and your family:

  • Never fly kites near electric lines. If your kite gets caught in an electric line, call Austin Utilities immediately at 1-507-433-8886 to report the problem. NEVER try to remove anything caught in electric lines.
  • Never fly kites near TV and radio antennas.
  • Never cross a street or road while flying a kite.
  • Never fly kites in the rain or during an electric storm.
  • Make sure that kite string, wood, paper or other kite materials are completely dry.
  • Never use a kite made with wire or metallic materials, including mylar.