Pacific Gas and Electric
Tips of the Trade
PG&E's COVID-19 Response
Winter 2020: Everyone's resources have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help prevent delays by pre-marking your proposed dig area in white and notifying 811 of your planned excavation with as much lead time as possible: up to 14 calendar days in California.
To learn more about PG&E's response to COVID-19, click here.
What's the Deal on Power Line Clearances?

Maintaining the proper clearance from overhead power lines is not only critical to a safe work environment, it's also the law. So, how do you determine the correct clearance distance?

Power Line Clearance

Order a FREE worker safety training kit on the PG&E e-SMARTworkers website.

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Working Safely Near Power Lines

Here are some good rules of thumb for staying safe around power lines:


If the overhead line is 50 kV or less, stay at least 10 feet away. (This required clearance increases to 20 feet for cranes and derricks used in construction unless you have taken OSHA-mandated precautions.)


Keep all equipment at least 20 feet away from lines carrying between 50 kV and 350 kV. Greater voltages require greater distances.


For lines carrying more than 350 kV, keep a minimum distance of at least 50 feet.

Before work begins, contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to verify voltages and visit Cal/OSHA at to confirm minimum safety clearance distances.

Remember: Power Lines Are NOT Insulated

Consider ALL power lines energized and dangerous. Any direct or indirect contact with overhead lines could cause serious injury or death to equipment operators and ground crew.

Would You Like to Know More?

Additional digging guidelines and training tools can all be found at no charge to you on the PG&E e-SMARTworkers website.

Call 811 before you dig

Dig safe

Damage to a natural gas pipeline can cause a gas leak that can result in a fire, explosion and/or injuries.
Call 811 or use the online ticket system at at least two working days (not including the date of your request, weekends and legal holidays) prior to starting work.

Make the call

If you suspect a gas leak or if you contact a gas pipeline or electric power line, call 911 immediately then PG&E at: 1-800-743-5000.

Stay alert and look up

Keep yourself and all tools and equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Only qualified line-clearance tree trimmers can work in the 10-foot safety zone.
For more contractor safety information, visit
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