Powerline Safety

Fallen electric lines are extremely dangerous and can cause injury or possibly even death. Don’t risk your safety or the safety of those around you. Instead, your actions can help avoid creating a hazardous situation. These tips can help you stay safe when you encounter downed power lines and when working around overhead or underground electric lines.

For more information, visit our safety page


Downed Power Line

Downed or Broken Power Lines

  • Stay clear of a downed or broken power line and avoid touching it.
  • Call SDG&E and 911 to report fallen overhead power lines.
  • Always assume that power lines are energized at lethal voltages.
  • If a person has come into contact with a power line, don’t touch the person or any equipment involved.

What if My Vehicle Comes in Contact with a Downed Power Line?

If an overhead wire falls across your vehicle while you are driving, avoid stopping. Instead, continue to drive away from the line. If your vehicle stalls, remain calm and stay inside your vehicle until emergency help arrives.

  • Warn others not to touch the vehicle and direct them to call 911 or SDG&E from a safe distance.
  • If you must leave the vehicle for safety reasons, open the door or window and jump clear without touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Be careful not to fall back against the vehicle and make sure to avoid touching any wires on the ground.

Working Safely Around Overhead Electric Lines

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when working in close proximity to overhead electric lines.
  • Keep all machinery, equipment and materials such as scaffolding, tools, boat masts, fruit-picking poles, antennas, satellite dishes, pool skimmer handles, metal ladders, etc. and any people at least 10 feet away from the lines.
  • If it looks like lines will be in your way, call SDG&E at 1-800-411-SDGE. Depending on the nature of your job, SDG&E might be able to turn off the electricity, cover the lines or even move them temporarily while you complete your work.
  • Freeing a person or animal from an electric line should only be attempted by a qualified electrical worker.


Know What's Below Before Digging 

  • Avoid digging, drilling or excavating before having underground lines marked. Failing to do so can damage these underground lines and cause injury, electrocution or fire.
  • To avoid an accident, call 8-1-1. We’ll send someone to your site for free who will show you exactly where electric lines are buried.

If you see an open SDG&E transformer or another piece of equipment, avoid touching it and call SDG&E at 1-800-411-SDGE.

Practice Safety When Using Mylar or Metallic Balloons

  • Keep mylar balloons indoors to prevent them from going near electric lines and creating a dangerous situation.
  • If your festivities take you outdoors, make sure to keep balloons securely fastened or attached to a weight. Never release them outdoors as they could make contact with power lines and cause a power outage or fire.
  • After using a Mylar balloon, dispose of it by puncturing it in several places. Avoid removing the attached weight until the balloon is fully deflated so that it doesn’t get loose and float away.