Montreal, September 20, 2023

Press Release

Be careful of power lines when doing any outdoor work

With the arrival of fall and the annual shedding of the leaves, a great many of us get busy with tree pruning, gutter cleaning and other outdoor tasks. Hydro-Québec would like to remind everyone of the importance of safety: before starting any work outdoors, make sure there are no power lines nearby.

Sadly, the recent spate of electrocutions in the Montréal, Québec and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean regions has prompted us to reiterate the basics of safety for all work carried out near our system.

Power lines are part of our environment, so it can be easy to forget they’re there. Remember the most fundamental safety rule: don’t let anyone or anything near power lines. Be especially aware of the danger when working at heights and using long or tall equipment. Know the risks and call on professionals trained to work near power lines.

Here’s what you should always do before climbing up somewhere or using long or tall equipment (ladder, long-handled skimmer, etc.)

1. Look for power lines nearby.

2. Keep everyone and everything at least 3 m away from a medium-voltage line.

3. Also be sure that nothing touches the low-voltage lines (including the lines connected to the service entrance of your home). Even though they’re insulated, the sheathing may be cracked or damaged.

Identifying dangerous lines

Never go near medium-voltage lines. These lines are located at the very top of the pole and are often confused with surge arresters. They are thin metal wires without an insulated sheath and are mounted on insulators, which look like small porcelain bowls. These unsheathed lines may look harmless, but they are extremely dangerous!

Just below the medium-voltage lines are the low-voltage lines. These are the lines that connect houses to the power system. The term “low-voltage lines” may make it sound like they aren’t dangerous, but they are! They can transmit hundreds of amperes, enough to cause serious injury.

Below the low-voltage lines are large cables covered with a black insulating sheath. These are telecommunications lines, used for telephone and cable service. They do not belong to Hydro-Québec and are not an electrical hazard, but never let anything touch them.

For more safety tips and to learn more about electricity, visit our website:


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