What to do if a power line falls in your yard

If a power line falls on your property, be sure to call the utility company.

If a power line falls on your property, be sure to call the utility company.

Fallen power lines can be extremely problematic for homeowners. Common during winter ice storms, fallen lines can create a potentially life threatening situation, exposing residents to potential shock.

Many homeowners may not even be aware of their responsibilities in the event of downed power lines. Often, it’s not as easy as simply calling the power company. In most states, the power company will safely remove the downed lines, but an electrician must be hired to reattach the power to the home.

Angie's List spoke with Steve Breton, a Boston electrician and owner of highly rated Breton Electric in Wakefield, Mass., and Pasquale Ceriello, field manager at Ceriello Electric in Brooklyn, N.Y., about the proper protocol a homeowner should follow in the event of a power line emergency.

1. What does a homeowner need to do if power lines are knocked down during a storm? 

Breton: Do not touch any downed wires. Call your power company so that they can address immediate safety issues, then call a licensed electrician to appraise and repair any damage to your electrical service. Note that most power companies will not restore power until your electrical service has been deemed safe by your local town or city electrical inspector.

Ceriello: Call the utility company immediately and avoid any contact with downed power lines.

2. What is the role of a city electric company vs. an electrician in this situation?

Breton: Typically, the power company is responsible for the lines from the electrical grid to the point of attachment to the building. From there on, it is the homeowner’s responsibility. FYI, in general, linemen are not trained or licensed to do work beyond their system.

Ceriello: In New York City, the local utility company (Consolidated Edison) is responsible for properly mounting downed power lines back to the house or where they fell from. The customer is responsible for hiring an electrician to reconnect the power lines to their own incoming service.

Angie's List can connect you with a highly rated electrician in your town. Regardless if you are looking for a Boston electrician or a New York City tri-state area electrician, Angie's List has trusted consumer ratings and reviews on electricians and hundreds of other categories of service. Join today for a happy hiring experience.

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