I just spoke to a communications company employee about some lines by my house. He told me certain communication lines may carry 200 volts. WOW

In all my fire department training I never heard a word about this. I feel as if I was denied need to know information.

We always stay on scene for down powerline until the power company is on scene. But I can not count the times we have left communication lines on the ground and never thought twice about it. I have even seen guys walk up roll them up and move them to the side. In the fall there is always some type of farm machinery knocking them down they are the lowest on the pole. How easy would that be start fire when left unattended and not called in. 

We are taught power line safety and my thought has always been what if down the road a mile the phone line is caught up in power lines. Now with just knowing communication lines can be carring power also adds to my concern. We carry hot sticks on every truck but I don't want to bet my life on a hot stick.


Anything anyone can add would be helpful I have already contacted my captain and informed him but I would like to educate my dept on the dangers of communication lines. There will may be some hard to convince so all the knowledge I can gain will be helpful.


This is the phone lines by my house I was talking to the "Phone Guy" about. You can't really see how much the lines are deflected by the trees in the top two photos but you can see where it has cut into the trees in the bottom photos.


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Phone lines carry the minimal voltage (very low amperage) required to operate a home phone. The phone companies are in the business of transmitting electric signals, not electricity.

To my knowledge the only reason a phone line would be energized is if a power line was in contact with the phone line.


11 Communication Worker Safety Zone
This safety zone, also called neutral space, is the space between the lowest supply conductor or equipment and the highest communication cables or equipment. In addition to separating the high voltage lines and communications wires, the safety zone provides maneuvering room for linemen and communication workers.

12 Communications Space
Usually the lowest area on the pole, the communications space is used for cable television, broadband, and telephone wires. All attachments require the pole owner's permission.

13 Communication Lines
Cable television and broadband wires are usually the uppermost communication lines. Telephone cables are often lashed to a steel strand in the lower area of the communications space. A true telephone pole supports only telephone wires, while a joint use utility pole has both electric and communications cables attached.

The phone company has contacted me and is in the process of setting up a safety class for my department. I will be sending out invites to other departments to attend.
So you're saying that some phone lines CAN carry 200 volts?
Do you have an explanation as to why they are energized?
Yes sir thats what they (phone company) told me. No not yet on the explanation just found out today myself.
Definitely curious to know the circumstances of a com line carrying 200 volts. Let us know what you find out.
Also, find out is this is a local thing or something that can be found anywhere.
Will do Jack,
They did tell me we should never find that voltage on the lead to a home unless it is wrap in power lines somewhere. The repair man told me even he would have a hard time telling voltage by just looking at the line. I have never heard of anyone injured by a com line but I don't know everything.
I am in hopes someone here in FFN can give us more information.
in the old days ring voltage was 90 volts and voice voltage was 48 volts, they may be powering devices on pole from there central office but my guess is 90 volts is tops, they are data lines not power lines.

Just my take,

I believe the amps are in the miliamperage range.
They told me 200 volts tops.
That's what I was told also Ralph.......But I still don't want to hold an open 200 volt line.
I also think a phone line is D/C current but I am not sure and that is just a guess from my memory from high school days.
Power line carrier communication (PLCC) is mainly used for telecommunication, tele-protection and tele-monitoring between electrical substations through power lines at high voltages, such as 110 kV, 220 kV, 400 kV. PLCC integrates the transmission of communication signal and 50/60 Hz power signal through the same electric power cable. The major benefit is the union of two important applications in a single system.

I found this on the internet.
phone lines care 50 ish volts when not ringing, around 150-180 when ringing. milliamps is correct and its dc until it rings, but it does get uncomfortable when ringing especially if a little moisture is involved.( this is only the wires going to and within the house. i don't know of any difference on the poles but i cant confirm that.)

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