How to Identify a Safe, Healthy Pole

Learn the Difference Between Power Lines and Communications Lines

Austin Energy’s poles support the distribution lines that allow us to provide safe, reliable power to our customers. 

Many utility poles around Austin carry wires and equipment for electricity and communications like telephone, internet, and cable services. 

You can help keep our poles safe and reliable by understanding the parts of a pole and what a properly-set-up pole looks like.

Healthy power lines

Power Lines

  • Will always be near the top of the pole.
  • Will have insulators that protect wires and equipment.
  • Will sometimes include a transformer that reduces voltage before electricity is delivered to customers.
  • Should always be considered energized and dangerous.
Healthy communication lines

Communications Lines

  • Will usually be 40 inches or more below the power lines and electric equipment.
  • Will often include communications wires and equipment such as a splicer box, loops of wires, or slackened wiring.
  • Are generally not as dangerous as power lines.
  • If downed or in disrepair, should be reported immediately to expedite repairs.

To report issues or violations with communications lines, contact Pole Attachment Operations.

Be Safe! Never Go Near Downed Power Lines

If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Report all downed power lines, trees, or tree limbs touching power lines by calling Austin Energy at 512-322-9100. 

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Date last reviewed or modified: 03/25/2024