Although underground electric cables have become more the norm in Calgary’s newer neighbourhoods, many Calgary homes and businesses are still serviced by overhead power lines. These deliver electricity from the main city grid to your home or business through your service point, which is connected to your roof. Your breaker box is then provided power from the service point through service entrance conductors.
Many don’t even notice aboveground power lines, as they are such a ubiquitous part of our scenery. But their placement and use should be kept top of mind if you are ever undergoing any sort of major renovation or build. If your architect and contractors fail to place your service point in the correct location you will be forced to have it repaired and even face a fine. Worse, if they have not been installed properly, they could cause a major accident or injury.
We at A-Star Electric are a group of certified journeyman or apprentice electricians that are committed to providing the very best in electrical service for your Calgary home or business.
City of Calgary Overhead Electrical Service Standards
Keep in mind when you are renovating or erecting a new building, ENMAX must be able to provide service to your home or business when construction is complete. There are five components of your electricity infrastructure they must have easy access to:
- You main service switch. This is the outdoor panel with a breaker or fused switch inside.
- Your ENMAX meter, which is what is read monthly to measure your consumption.
- The meter base, which is the enclosure for the ENMAX meter. The meter base is owned by you, while the meter itself is owned by the utility company.
- The service conductors (usually located on the roof).
- The service mast, which is conduit for your service conductors (also usually located on the roof).
For major electrical work such as moving your service point, meter, service panel or service conductors, we highly recommend you contact a certified journeyman electrician in Calgary. Although development permits are circulated to ENMAX, they do not check to make sure that the service points are correct and all requirements are fulfilled. That is on you, as the home or business owner. We will assist by providing our expertise and calling ENMAX well ahead of time to confirm whether the proposed placements of your electricity elements are correct.
The Dangers of Overhead Power Lines
Given the amount of hail, heavy snow and extreme winds we see in Calgary, it’s not uncommon for power lines to disconnect, fall or droop. If you see a downed or drooping overhead power line, do not touch it. Stay far away and call the ENMAX Power Trouble Line at 403.514.6100 or the City of Calgary at 311. If the line is sparking and in a hazardous location, such as a playground or schoolyard, call 911.
Transmission wires typically carry from 70 to 500 kilovolts of electricity before it is reduced and redistributed at substations. At substations power is reduced to between 4 and 25 kilovolts before being carried to homes and businesses. Transformers (those round, can-shaped items at the top of power lines near the poles) work to further ensure voltage has been properly reduced before being sent to your breaker box.
Even as little as 4 kilovolts is dangerous to humans, given the right conditions, and can cause severe wounds. Contact with 500 kilovolts – even for just a few seconds – can be fatal. You don’t even need to come in direct contact with a downed power line to be injured. If the ground is wet you are in danger, as water is an excellent conductor. Trees can also act as conductors, as branches in contact with a damaged power line become “energized” and disperse electricity into the ground around them.
Electricians and electrical professionals safely repair downed power lines by using insulating materials such as rubber gloves and boots, and use rubber-handled tools.
Calgary Overhead Line Services by A-Star
A-Star Electric of Calgary provides overhead line services for homes and businesses. Service points can get old and wear out, which can affect delivery of your electricity. They also may require moving due to roofing work or renovations. A-Star provides both of these services.
Also, remember there are lots of easy ways to reduce your use of electricity. Not only will being careful about your consumption help the environment, but it will also help lower your electricity bill.