When electricity is generated in power plants, it is transmitted over long distances at a high voltage. An electrical substation has voltages as high as 500,000 volts running through it – which will kill in an instant. Through substation transformers this high voltage is reduced to distribution levels in the substation and then sent through the distribution lines where a service transformer reduces it even further for service in homes and businesses. Because of the high voltage in substations, it is important that safety precautions are taken by trained workers who are the only ones allowed to work in or near substations.
Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s (CAEC) substations are surrounded by metal fences topped with barbed wire to make them inaccessible to the public. Signs are placed on fences and gates to warn of the potential danger of electrocution. These warning signs are also placed on the sides of the substation and often contain text such as “Warning – keep out – hazardous voltage inside – can shock, burn or cause death” with a symbol of a person being electrocuted. If a child’s kite, ball or other toy is accidentally lost in a substation area, do not retrieve it yourself. Additionally, do not attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside the substation. Call the electric company associated with the substation and ask them to help retrieve your belonging. If it’s a CAEC substation, call 1-800-545-5735 or, after 9 p.m., call 1-800-619-5460 for assistance.
When the authorized personnel arrive, do not attempt to accompany them into the substation area, but wait outside the fence while they retrieve your property. Workers who enter the substation must follow strict safety requirements, including wearing a hard hat, safety shoes, safety glasses, arc flash clothing and special gloves designed to protect them.
Educate your children on the dangers of electrical substations and teach them to recognize the danger signs displayed on high-voltage equipment. It’s particularly important that children, who may not understand warning signs, realize the dangers of high voltage.
If you notice anything strange or out of place with a substation, such as trespassing, damage or vandalism, call us to report the details at 1-800-545-5735.