NYSEG | Look Up...Look Out
Usage and Safety 
look up...look out! 

Look Up...Look Out!

Be careful around overhead power lines. When working around your house, remember that things such as aluminum siding, gutters and ladders conduct electricity. If any of these items touch an overhead power line, the results could be deadly.

While planning a project, contractors and customers should carefully check the work area for any potential hazards, including overhead power lines.


  • Water and electricity NEVER mix. Keep power tools and extension cords away from water, including rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and garden hoses.
  • Have a licensed electrician add weatherproof covers and GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) on outdoor electrical outlets to protect yourself against electrical shock.
  • Leave cutting and trimming of trees near power lines to professionals. A tree or limb that comes in contact with a power line could be deadly.  For more information click trees and power lines.

Safety Myths 

  • Power lines are insulated - Ninety percent of outside power lines are not insulated. Furthermore, the lines that are insulated are exposed to rough weather, so you never know what condition the insulation is in. No line is safe to touch, ever.
  • Only high voltage is dangerous - Voltage is the pressure that pushes electricity along, like water though a hose. Amperage (amp), the amount of electricity in any given spot, is what will hurt or kill you. It takes less than one quarter of one amp to put a heart into ventricular fibrillation (irregular beating). Most residents have at least 100-amp service coming into their house; many residents have 200-amp service.
  • When a wire falls to the ground, it automatically shuts off - Our circuits are designed to sense short circuits − sudden requests for unusual amounts of electricity. If this doesn't happen because the wire has fallen on a poor conductor, for example, our line will remain energized. Always treat a downed wire as energized until NYSEG has shut it off.
  • When a live wire falls, it makes sparks - A power line sparks if it falls to the ground and does not make firm contact with the ground or other material. When a wire falls to the ground and makes firm contact, it will often make no noise or sparks, and will leave the impression that it is de-energized.

For more information click electric safety myths.

Call Before You Dig
Whether you're a contractor or a homeowner doing an outdoor project, having underground utilities marked is essential to protect yourself and others from injury and prevent damage to underground utility lines. Contact Dig Safely New York at least two working days (not counting the day you call) but not more than 10 working days before you plan to start your project. Digging can be dangerous and costly if you don’t have underground facilities marked before you start.

For more information click Dig Safely.




want to know more?

View a printable version of our Call Before You Dig and Look Up - Look Out! manual.