Electrical Facilities

Underground wires

Many customers are served from an underground electric system. In commercial or residential underground developments, it is a common practice to install electric cables, telephone cables, and CATV cables in close proximity. These underground facilities can be exposed and/or damaged due to cave-ins, uprooted trees, etc. 

Do not attempt to identify or touch these cables yourself. Assume they are energized and call 911 immediately.

Transformers in these areas are found in two types - underground and pad-mount. The underground types are installed below ground level. The pad-mount types are installed on a base (pad) so that the transformer sits on ground level. The pad-mount types have all the cables and connections locked inside their built-in metal cabinets to make completely sealed units. Never touch, climb or play on pad-mounted transformers. Never put fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in the transformer. Never dig near a pad-mounted transformer. They are surrounded by underground cables. Hitting the cable could result in electrical shock or disruption of service. Always call 811 before you dig. Call 911 immediately for any emergency involving these transformers. Any emergency involving these transformers must be reported to us immediately.

Digging Near Underground Lines

Customers serviced by underground power lines should be aware of landscaping clearance and other guidelines before digging near our equipment.

Click here for information about planting near pad-mounted enclosures.

811 Call Before You Dig

State laws require that the excavator notify the appropriate State One-Call System before digging.  See below for your state’s required advance notice requirement.  Trained personnel will locate and mark the underground facilities for you. There is no charge for this service and it limits customer liability in case the excavation results in damage to the underground utilities. 

The following work site information will be needed:

811 - Know what's below. Call before you dig.

  • County, city or township
  • Street address
  • Intersecting streets or roads
  • Distance and direction from intersection
  • Extent of work (front/rear/both sides)
  • Date excavation will take place
  • Type of work
  • Your name
  • Contact phone number
  • Contractor contact person or other additional information

Each state One-Call Center may be contacted by telephone by dialing the 811 nationwide "Call Before You Dig"  telephone number or each agency’s specific 800 telephone number (listed below). You also may contact them online at  www.call811.com* or through each agency’s website (also listed below). 

State One-Call Organizations

  • Ohio (Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison)
    48 hours from the time that the ticket is created excluding weekends and legal holidays.
    Call 811 800-362-2764  OHIO811
  • Pennsylvania (Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power, West Penn Power)
    Two business days excluding the day that the ticket was created, weekends and legal holidays.
    Call 811 or 800-242-1776  POCS811 
  • New Jersey (Jersey Central Power & Light)
    Three business days excluding the day that the ticket was created, weekends and legal holidays.  
    Call 811 or 800-272-1000 NJOC
  • New York (Penelec only)
    Two business days excluding the day that the ticket was created, weekends and legal holidays.
    Call 811 or 800-962-7962 DSNY
  • West Virginia (Mon Power, Potomac Edison) 
    48 hours from the time that the ticket is created excluding weekends and legal holidays.
    Call 811 or 800-245-4848  MUWV
  • Maryland (Potomac Edison) 
    Two business days excluding the day that the ticket was created, weekends and legal holidays.
    Call 811 or 800-257-7777 MUMD

*By clicking this link you are leaving the FirstEnergy website and entering a website maintained by a third party. The third party is entirely responsible for the content of their website.

Overhead wires

Utility poles may carry electric, telephone, cable TV, and fire alarm wires, although you may not find all of these on every pole. Electric distribution voltages range from 2,400 to 34,500 volts.

In general, overhead wires are installed in the following order, from the top down:

  • Primary electric wires, at the top of the poles, operate at high voltages from 2,400 to 34,500 volts.
  • Secondary electric wires for local use operate at lower voltages (less than 600 volts, usually 120/240 volts).
  • Fire alarm wires
  • Cable TV wires (CATV)
  • Telephone lines

Common Electrical Distribution Lines

There are several other kinds of wires to consider:

  • Risers, enclosed in pipes, run up the sides of utility poles. They connect overhead to underground systems.
  • Service wires run from a utility pole to a home or other building
  • Guy wires support utility pole



All pole transformers contain mineral oil and are rarely contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). However, only new transformers are labeled with the letter "N" to designate non-PCB.

Notify us immediately about oil spills from equipment. Do not attempt to wash away oil spills. We must follow special procedures for handling and cleaning up oil spills.

Pole Identification

Every pole is identified with a number. This number is located on the side of the pole that faces the street approximately six feet above the ground. If the number is missing, check the adjacent pole and use it as a reference point.


Electric substations contain high-voltage equipment, which can be deadly.

Never try to climb a substation fence or otherwise enter a substation for any reason, and make sure children understand that they must stay away. 

Trees near power lines

Properly selecting and locating trees around power lines is important - not only for safety, but for reliable electric service, too. Trees that grow up into and around power lines require extensive trimming to prevent power outages during storms. Also, children climbing such trees could come in contact with power lines - a very dangerous situation.


  • If you want to plant trees near or under power lines, choose varieties that will grow to a height of 30 feet or less.
  • If you want to plant trees that will grow to more than 30 feet tall, make sure they are well away from power lines.

For more information on planting and maintaining trees near power lines, see How to Select the Right Tree for the Location.