Safety is the cornerstone of everything we do here at the PUD. Some of our power lines are energized at 69,000 volts. That is nearly 300 times more than the voltage in the wires of your home. Electricity is a part of our everyday lives and must be treated with respect.
Electricity travels the path of least resistance. If you come in contact with electricity, it can pass through your body, causing serious injury or death. Knowing what to do and what not to do around power lines can save lives – even yours!
Our members use electricity safely every day, yet we want everyone to know about the potential dangers. Importantly, we want our employees to return home safe and sound to their families every day. PUD linemen are first responders for public safety.
Safety is Our First Concern
When thieves break into substations to steal copper wire they put themselves at great risk, often for little benefit. In October, a Washington man was electrocuted and killed while trying to steal $20 worth of copper.
Not only do thieves put themselves at risk, they also endanger our employees and the general public. In many cases, thieves are stealing grounding wire from our substations and power poles that is designed to protect workers and to prevent equipment failures.
Copper Theft Increases Maintenance Costs
Metal theft is a serious issue in the United States, due in large part to the high price of copper and other metals on the salvage market. Utilities in Oregon and Washington are seeing burglaries at substations and other facilities. This is a dangerous trend that increases costs for all PUD customers
These thefts also cost you money. Since 2003, Bonneville Power Administration has reported more than 900 thefts. BPA estimates each crime costs about $150,000 in stolen materials. The total price is much higher because of the cost of labor to repair the damages.
Report Suspicious Activity
We need your help. If you see suspicious activity around our substations, power poles or other electrical equipment, please call 9-1-1 immediately and report it. You can also call us at (360) 385-5800 to report suspicious activity or damage to PUD substations or equipment.
Customers who rely on life-sustaining equipment are a concern for us. Please let us know if you are dependent on a kidney dialysis machine, a ventilator, or other such equipment. Email or call our Customer Service Department at (509) 661-8400. Customers using life-sustaining equipment can ask to be placed on our Med Line notification list. During unscheduled outages, we will attempt to restore service as quickly as possible to individuals with these special medical needs. We cannot and do not guarantee uninterrupted services. If a power outage would create a problem for you, we recommend that you install or have in place a backup system to support your needs during an outage.
Don’t Post on Poles
It’s against the law to post signs on power poles. It’s also dangerous for electrical workers. Leftover nails or pins from unauthorized postings can lead to punctures in a worker’s gloves that can expose them to electric shock, causing serious injury or death. When the sealed outer layers of a pole are pierced, moisture and insects creep in and cause damage that shortens the life of the pole, increasing maintenance costs. The National Electrical Safety Code prohibits these types of pole attachments.
Mylar Balloons & Drones
Metallic balloons touching power lines can cause fires, damage property and lead to injuries. Help us keep our community safe.
- DO NOT release metallic balloons into the air
- Tie all ribbons to weights but DO NOT tie ribbons together
- NEVER use metallic ribbon with helium-filled balloons
- PROPERLY DISPOSE of metallic balloons – puncture and deflate before reusing or throwing away.
Want to keep your drone free from danger? Keep it away from power lines. Flying too close may affect your drone’s signal. Landing on power lines could damage your machine or cause a power outage.