Power Lines

What to Do if a Power Line Falls in Your Yard

Beyond just avoiding injury if a power line falls in your yard, learn what responsibility you have as a homeowner.

Downed power lines can be extremely problematic for homeowners. Common during winter ice storms, fallen lines can create a potentially life-threatening situation, exposing residents to potential shock or electrocution.

Many homeowners may not even be aware of their responsibilities in the event of downed power lines. Often, it’s not as easy as simply calling the power company. In most states, the power company will safely remove the downed lines, but an electrician must be hired to reattach the power to the home.

Angie’s List spoke with Steve Breton, a Boston electrician and owner of Breton Electric in Wakefield, Mass., and Pasquale Ceriello, field manager at Ceriello Electric in Brooklyn, N.Y., about the proper protocol a homeowner should follow in the event of a power line emergency. [Chad Ferguson from Safe and Sound electric in Bremerton, WA has edited this article to conform with Washington]

1. What does a homeowner need to do if power lines are knocked down during a storm? 

Breton: Do not touch any downed wires. Call your power company so that they can address immediate safety issues, then call a licensed electrician to appraise and repair any damage to your electrical service. Note that most power companies will not restore power until your electrical service has been deemed safe by your local town or city electrical inspector. [Inspector is from State Department of Labor and Industries, in most jurisdictions]

Ceriello: Call the utility company immediately and avoid any contact with downed power lines.

2. What is the role of a city electric company vs. an electrician in this situation?

Breton: Typically, the power company is responsible for the lines from the electrical grid to the point of attachment to the building. From there on, it is the homeowner’s responsibility. FYI, in general, linemen are not trained or licensed to do work beyond their system.

Ferguson: PSE (Pudget Sound Energy) is in charge of the electrical lines, exterior connection, and meter attached to your meter base.  You and your Electrical Contractor friends at Safe and Sound Electric are responsible for the interior wires, conduit, meter base, electrical panel and part of the wiring outside of the weather head on the electrical mast.

Beyond just avoiding injury if a power line falls in your yard, learn what responsibility you have as a homeowner.

Source: What to Do if a Power Line Falls in Your Yard | Angie’s List