12:33 PM

What's on a Power Pole?

Have you wondered about the equipment on a power pole? Electric providers follow national standards for the equipment on poles and how they’re placed. Based on their location and the type of electric service they’re providing, the equipment on poles can vary. Still, as this illustration shows,  here’s some basic equipment found on electric power distribution poles.

1. A CROSSARM holds power lines, allowing required clearances between lines. 

2. PRIMARY WIRES run on top. Each usually carries 14,400 volts of electricity from a substation.

3. SURGE ARRESTORS protect the transformer from lightning strikes.

4. POLE GROUND WIRE running the length of the pole — connects to the neutral wire to complete the circuit inside the transformer. It also directs electricity from lightning safely into the earth.

5. A POWER POLE TAG shows which electric provider has power lines on the pole. Jackson EMC's tag is shaped as a triangle.

6. TELEPHONE & CABLE TV lines are typically the lowest wires.

7. 40-FOOT POLES are sunk six feet into the ground.

8. INSULATORS (made of porcelain or a composite) prevent energized wires from contacting each other or the pole.

9. TRANSFORMERS convert higher voltage electricity from primary wires to lower voltage for use by consumers.

10. THE NEUTRAL WIRE acts as a line back to the substation and is tied to ground, balancing the electricity on the system.

11. A SECONDARY SERVICE DROP carries 120/240-volts of electricity to the end user. It has two "hot" wires from the transformer, and one bare neutral wire connected to the ground wire on the pole.

12.GUY WIRES help stabilize poles. They also are connected to the pole ground wire.

180,000 the approximate number of power poles in Jackson EMC's service area.