Keep your distance — staying safe near power lines at home

Every year in Nova Scotia, we see serious safety accidents caused by contact with overhead and underground power lines. These incidents can occur at worksites and at home.

Whether you’re doing major construction work or simple repairs to your property, ask yourself:

  • Will I come within six metres of an overhead power line?

  • Am I working in an area with underground electrical equipment?

If so, you need to fill out a Safe Clearance & Cable Locate Request from Nova Scotia Power to safely carry out the job.

Electricity always seeks the path of least resistance, which means a person or an object (i.e. tools, trees or toys) that touches a power line can create a conductive path to the ground, causing serious injury or fatal electrocution. Did you know electricity can also arc through the air? Always assume that an object very near a power line is energized.

Read on to learn more about how to stay safe near electricity at home.

Stay safe near overhead power lines.

Spring is in the air! As the weather warms up, many Nova Scotians start working in their gardens and on their properties. Whether you’re painting, pruning or clearing gutters, electrical hazards are likely nearby. Here are some tips:

  • Always look up and around for power lines before starting any job around your home.

  • If you are working with garden tools, such as ladders, hedge trimmers or pruning poles, keep them a safe distance from overhead power lines to avoid electrical arcing. Always carry any long tools horizontally.

  • Ensure children do not play with kites near power lines.

  • If there are power lines nearby, place your ladder at least 6 metres away from the line to avoid electrical arcing. Ladders used near power lines should be made of non-conductive materials like fiberglass. They should also be kept clean and dry.

Don’t forget to look down. 

Some electrical equipment and power lines are underground. If your home or building has power and there are no overhead wires attached to the building, it likely has underground service. This is often the case in new subdivisions and in parts of downtown Halifax and Dartmouth. Before digging, please contact us to get underground electrical locates. Simply use our Safe Clearance & Cable Locate Request or call 1-800-428-6230.

Trimming trees on your property.

Trees that are close to overhead power lines can interfere with reliability of electricity and pose safety hazards.

  • Never attempt to remove tree limbs from power lines.
  • Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines aren’t touching the tree, they could touch when more weight is added to the branch.
  • A tree that has 3 metres (10 feet) of horizontal clearance from a power line or utility pole is not a threat to the electrical system. This gives the tree enough room to sway with the wind or bend with the weight of snow and ice without threatening an outage.
  • A tree laying on a power line can cause flickering lights in the home or damage to a utility pole and equipment. If you see this kind of situation, please call us immediately at 1-800-428-6230.
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