​Power lines and equipment safety

From downed power lines, substations and neighborhood transformers, learn more about how to be safe. 

Please drive safely

A car crashes into one of our power poles about every other day. Please drive safely and steer clear of the poles. 

Find out what to do if you hit a power pole and get tips for driving safely.

Signs on poles

Nails, staples, pins or other things used to post signs on power poles can be unsafe for our workers. Help keep our workers safe and our communities beautiful.  Report signage on power poles in our community.

There’ve been some questions about the possible health effects of being exposed to certain electric and magnetic fields, which are found whenever you have electric power.

SMUD offers a brochure that contains helpful information about this subject.

There are also practical tips you can use if you want to reduce your exposure at home and at work. To view the brochure.


Downed lines
If overhead power lines are downed for any reason, stay clear. Call 911 or 1-888-456-7683 for assistance. Do not touch the wires.

If the downed power lines have fallen on a motor vehicle, avoid contact with the vehicle -- it has probably been electrified and deadly shock could result if you touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Stay clear until you are sure the power is shut off.

Overhead lines
Avoid contacting power lines, whether directly or with another object. Don't climb on wooden utility poles, metal transmission towers or any trees that may bring you into contact with power lines.

Objects can get hung up in power lines or in a tree near an overhead line. Don't try to pull it down or climb on anything to get it. Call SMUD at 1-888-742-7683 and we'll get it down for you.

Underground utility lines
Before you do any digging, learn the location of any underground utilities near your home. Call Underground Service Alert at 1-800-227-2600 at least two working days before digging. See our substation and underground lines section for more information.



Substations contain large, high-voltage equipment to serve many homes and businesses. We fence off this high-voltage equipment and post warnings for your safety. Please don’t allow children to play near a substation and never attempt to enter one. If you notice a damaged fence, please contact SMUD security at 1-916-732-5900.

Underground utility lines
Digging a hole to plant a tree or put in a new fence? Be safe and call before you dig.

Learn the location of any underground utilities near your home. Call Underground Service Alert at 1-800-227-2600 or 811 at least two working days before digging. They are open 6 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday, except holidays.

Proper clearance

In some areas with underground power lines we put transformer boxes in people’s yards. If you have one in your yard you can help yourself, your neighbors and our workers by making sure there is at least eight feet of clearance around the green metal boxes.

Keeping plants and structures away from this equipment will help our crews restore power to you and your neighbors more quickly during an outage. The eight-foot clearance also helps SMUD crews perform scheduled maintenance more safely and efficiently. It’s also required by law.

For more information about clear space requirements around neighborhood electrical transformers, call us at 1-888-742-7683.