Many customers are served from an underground electric system. In commercial or residential underground developments, it is a common practice to install electric cables, telephone cables, and CATV cables in close proximity. These underground facilities can be exposed and/or damaged due to cave-ins, uprooted trees, etc.
Do not attempt to identify or touch these cables yourself. Assume they are energized and call us immediately.
Transformers in these areas are found in two types - underground and pad-mount. The underground types are installed below ground level. The pad-mount types are installed on a base (pad) so that the transformer sits on ground level. The pad-mount types have all the cables and connections locked inside their built-in metal cabinets to make completely sealed units. Any emergency involving these transformers must be reported to us immediately.
Customers serviced by underground power lines should be aware of landscaping clearance and other guidelines before working around our equipment.
Call Before You Dig
State laws require that the excavator notify the appropriate State One-Call System a minimum of three days before digging. Trained personnel will locate and mark the underground facilities for you. There is no charge for this service and it limits customer/contractor liability in case the digging does cause damage to the underground utilities.
The following work site information will be needed:
- County, city or township
- Street address
- Intersecting streets or roads
- Distance and direction from intersection
- Extent of work (front/rear/both sides)
- Date excavation will take place
- Type of work
- Your name
- Contact phone number
- Contractor contact person or other additional information
Each state One-Call Center may be contacted by telephone by dialing the 8-1-1 nationwide "Call Before You Dig" telephone number or each agency’s specific 800 telephone number (listed below). You also can contact them online at www.call811.com/811-your-state* or through each agency’s website (also listed below).
State One-Call Organizations
- Ohio (Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison)
Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS)
8-1-1 or 800-362-2764
- Pennsylvania (Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power)
Pennsylvania One Call System
8-1-1 or 800-242-1776
- New Jersey (Jersey Central Power & Light)
New Jersey One Call
8-1-1 or 800-272-1000
- New York (Penelec only)
8-1-1 or 800-962-7962
- West Virginia (Mon Power, Potomac Edison)
West Virginia 811
8-1-1 or 800-245-4848
- Maryland (Potomac Edison)
8-1-1 or 800-257-7777
*By clicking this link you are leaving the FirstEnergy website and entering a website maintained by a third party. The third party is entirely responsible for the content of their website.
Utility poles may carry electric, telephone, cable TV, and fire alarm wires, although you may not find all of these on every pole. Electric distribution voltages range from 2,400 to 34,500 volts.
In general, overhead wires are installed in the following order, from the top down:
- Primary electric wires, at the top of the poles, operate at high voltages from 2,400 to 34,500 volts.
- Secondary electric wires for local use operate at lower voltages (less than 600 volts, usually 120/240 volts).
- Fire alarm wires
- Cable TV wires (CATV)
- Telephone lines
There are several other kinds of wires to consider:
- Risers, enclosed in pipes, run up the sides of utility poles. They connect overhead to underground systems.
- Service wires run from a utility pole to a home or other building
- Guy wires support utility pole
All pole transformers contain mineral oil and are rarely contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). However, only new transformers are labeled with the letter "N" to designate non-PCB.
Notify us immediately about oil spills from equipment. Do not attempt to wash away oil spills. We must follow special procedures for handling and cleaning up oil spills.
Every pole is identified with a number. This number is located on the side of the pole that faces the street approximately six feet above the ground. If the number is missing, check the adjacent pole and use it as a reference point.
Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can be deadly.
Never try to clear a substation fence or otherwise enter a substation for any reason, and make sure children understand that they must stay away.
Trees near power lines
Properly selecting and locating trees around power lines is important - not only for safety, but for reliable electric service, too. Trees that grow up into and around power lines require extensive trimming to prevent power outages during storms. Also, children climbing such trees could come in contact with power lines - a very dangerous situation.
- If you want to plant trees near or under power lines, choose varieties that will grow to a height of 30 feet or less.
- If you want to plant trees that will grow to more than 30 feet tall, make sure they are well away from power lines.
For more information on planting and maintaining trees near power lines, see How to Select the Right Tree for the Location.