Rights of Way:
The Power Grid System and Rights of Way
Electricity is delivered to homes and businesses through a complex and carefully engineered network of transmission and distribution lines. Moon Lake Electric Association (MLEA) acquires easements to ensure that it has the legal right to maintain its power lines and the integrity of the sytem. The easement rights obtained are for the safety of the public, MLEA personnel, and protection of MLEA’s valuable facilities and equipment. If the easement rules are encroached upon, it could mean a violation of the National Safety Electric Code, which could pose severe, even life-threatening dangers to the public.
Safety Matters - The 10ft Circle of Safety
Keep everything - you, the tools, the materials you are handling and the equipment you are operative - at least 10 feet away from all power lines. This is referred to as the “10-Foot Circle of Safety.”
When working in proximity to power lines with a voltage of 50,000 volts or less, it is essential to maintain a minimum distance of ten feet. Not only is this an important safety rule, it is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation, and it is a law. Those caught violating the Circle of Safety can be fined. If the voltage is higher than 50,000 volts, even greater distances from the wires is required for safety.
Please do not block easements
During outages and other emergencies, MLEA needs immediate access to safely and quickly restore power. That response is significantly hindered if fences, livestock or other equipment block access.
If crews do not have proper access to power lines, the risk of damage or removal of property may result. Property owners who violate easement agreements could be held liable for any property damage, fence replacement or any other damages that may result if MLEA needs to access its facilities. Not only does this pose a delay in restoring power, but crews must also take extra risks in removing these sometimes dangerous barriers.
Access for periodic and normal maintenance activities is also necessary to ensure power safety and reliability. Objects or buildings placed underneath or too close to power lines pose serious safety concerns and could be a violation of required clearances. Flammable items, such as hay bales, may catch fire. Long or tall items, such as irrigiation pipes may accidentally be raised into overhead lines when being moved, electrocuting the person holding them. An electricity arc can even occur by coming close to a line without even touching it. For more information on what items to avoid placing near powerlines, see the list on the next page.
Avoid Placing the Following Items Near or Beneath a Power Line:
- Houses, garages, sheds or barns
- Second-story decks
- Play equipment or tree houses
- Recreational vehicles that block access
- Hot tubs or pools
- Fences that block access
- Antennas or satellite dishes
- Scaffolding or ladders
- Pipes, containers, hay bales
- Mechanical equipment
- Flammable materials
- Anything children or adults may climb
Differences Between Distribution and Transmission Lines
|Distribution Line||Transmission Line|
|Distinction||Power is distributed from substation to customers||Power is transmitted from generating stations to substations|
|Categorization||By voltage rating||By voltage rating|
|Easement Width||20 feet to 40 feet||50 feet to 150 feet|
|Identification||White metal license plate tag on pole||White metal license plate tag on pole|
For a downloadable pamphlet version of the information in this page click the download link below.