You’re driving down the road. You see passing cars, businesses, a few houses and maybe even a farm field. But did you notice the utility poles and power lines? Although we’re so used to seeing them that they often blend in, utility poles and power lines are significant to the final stage in the delivery of electric power. Think of them as the strong, silent type.
How Does Electric Distribution Work?
Electric transmission converts to distribution in the power substation that serves your home or small business. Electricity is:
- Removed from the transmission system
- Passed through step-down transformers which lower voltage near the final destination
- Transferred onto smaller cables which lead to the customer
If the electricity is for a residential customer, voltage is then lowered by smaller transformers on poles or underground before connecting to your home.
Stay Away Stay Alive
If you see a downed power line, remember the rule—Stay Away and Stay Alive. Even though a broken wire on the ground isn’t sparking, it can still be “live” with a deadly amount of electricity. Take these safety precautions if you spot a downed power line:
- Keep people and pets 25 feet away
- Be careful not to come in contact with anything the wire is touching, especially standing water, metal objects and even tree limbs
- Do not try to move a wire if it’s crossing a road or driveway
- Contact Consumers Energy toll-free at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report the downed power line immediately
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