For the safety of our Powerline Technicians (PLTs), please do not install or attach anything to Battle River Power poles or facilities. It may be tempting to hang secondary equipment, signs, birdhouses, real estate signs, satellite dishes, decorations, etc. on utility poles, but here are reasons why these can endanger Powerline Technicians (PLTs), the public, and break the law.
Q: How does attaching items on utility poles impact Powerline Technicians?
A: If a PLT needs to climb a pole to access overhead equipment for maintenance or to restore power during an outage, these items become hazardous obstacles and hinder preventative maintenance. Even a small nail can puncture a lineman’s clothes, gloves or snag safety gear, making them vulnerable to injury, falls, or possible electrocution. Fencing or buildings that are too close to power poles make it hard for PLTs to get access for their equipment to service the pole.
Q: How can it impact residents?
A: If an unqualified person gets too close to energized lines to attach a prohibited object, they could be exposed to thousands of volts of electricity. As a good rule of thumb, it’s important to stay at least 10 feet away from an overhead power line.
Additionally, the timing to repair an outage is compromised when a PLT encounters obstructions. This may affect you and/or your neighbours operations. The service and linemen at Battle River take pride in our outage response time and are always looking to improve safety and the system.
Q: But I’m a BRPC member – don’t I own the power poles?
A: As outlined in the third principle (Members’ Economic Participation) of the seven Cooperative Principles, members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of their cooperative. That capital (e.g.: power poles) remains the common property of the cooperative. Members delegate through the elected Board of Directors to govern the allocation of earnings for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative; setting up reserves; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Q: Are there any other precautions people should keep in mind?
A: If additional equipment that has not been accounted for is added to the pole, it can impact a pole’s ability to remain standing in the event of a storm or strong winds, and possibly cause equipment damage or widespread power outages. This expense is borne by the membership, and our sole missions is to provide electricity to our members and future members in the most prudent manner possible, while providing the best possible service.
BRPC’s policy is to choose the best option, that benefits the most members, to get the power back on as soon as possible during a power outage. If there is something foreign attached to a pole affected by an outage, it affects our ability to restore power in a timely and prudent manner.
Q: How am I breaking the law by attaching something to the power pole on my own property?
A: According to the Alberta Electrical Utility Code, section 2, 2-012: Interference with Systems states:
(1) No person shall interfere with, tamper with, or willfully damage electrical utility systems covered by this Code.
(2) Electrical utility system poles and structures shall be kept free of all materials and equipment not required for the system, unless permitted by the operator of the utility system.
(3) No person shall make attachments to electrical utility system poles and structures unless authorization has been received from the operator of the utility system.