Beware of downed power lines
by Robert Yang | July 25, 2020
I don’t know about you, but I’m not thrilled to see reports of Hurricane Douglas lurking in the Central Pacific. Storms have the potential to damage our equipment — including bringing down our power lines. If you ever come across a downed power line, the right thing to do is report it to Hawaiian Electric’s 24/7 Trouble Line:
- 1–855–304–1212 (Oahu)
- 808–871–7777 (Maui)
- 1–877–871–8461 (Molokai/Lanai) (Toll-Free)
- 808–969–6666 (Hawaii Island)
Why? Because a downed power line could still be energized and is lethally dangerous to anyone who makes contact with it.
Before contacting us, be sure to stay at least 30 feet or three car lengths away. Do not try to move the line. Be aware of your surroundings and take note of any objects the line could be touching, as it could easily energize them too! Warn those walking in your direction of the danger ahead.
If you’re unsure whether the downed line is power line, remember that power lines and communication lines sometimes share the same pole. Power lines are noticeably suspended at the very top of the utility pole and are made of steel/aluminum. Communication lines (for cable TV, internet or telephone) are much thicker, wrapped in a conduit, and positioned lower at the center of the pole. Power lines cannot contact each other and are usually spaced out, while communication lines are bunched together.
This information might help to ensure you’re reporting a downed power line and not a communication line.
Stormy weather isn’t the only cause of downed power lines. Motor vehicle accidents, felled trees and other incidents can be the culprit. If you see a downed line, try to determine whether it’s a communication or power line. If it is a power line, be sure to report it to one of our 24/7 trouble lines. If you’re unsure, go ahead and call it in — we’ll pass on the information to the correct source. And remember, don’t ever touch a downed power line — it’s downright dangerous!
Robert Yang is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.