At DTE Energy, safety is always the top priority.  

May is National Electrical Safety Month, so as we reach storm season, it’s the perfect time to learn more about how to stay safe around electrical equipment. 


Maintain a safe distance 

Whether power lines are overhead or have fallen due to extreme weather or other factors, always maintain a safe distance. Stay at least25 feet away — approximately the length of a school bus — from any power line and anything that it’s touching.  

Look up to know what’s down 

When conditions such as high winds or falling tree branches threaten the electric grid, lines may come down. These wires can hide beneath vegetation, debris or other objects. Always look up to confirm that lines are in the air and where they are supposed to be. Remember that not all downed power lines arc, spark, smoke or buzz. Even seemingly lifeless lines may still carry power and be dangerous. If you suspect a downed line, follow safety guidelines promptly and report that line down by dialing 9-1-1 if it’s an emergency, or reporting it on the DTE phone app or webpage. 

Respect your service drop 

Your home’s service drop — the high-voltage line that runs from your house to the utility pole — runs much closer to the ground than the lines do between utility poles. Despite being lower, it carries the same powerful electricity. Never touch it. When near that lower service line, carry objects horizontally (such as ladders or pool skimmers) to avoid accidental contact. Any interaction with this line could be fatal. 

Fallen power line(s) on a vehicle 

While rare, situations where a power line falls on a vehicle can happen. Distracted driving often contributes to such incidents. Here’s what to do: 

  • Stay in place or inside your vehicle unless you see fire, smoke or another immediate hazard. 
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately. 
  • Warn bystanders to stay away. Honk your horn, roll down your window and yell to prevent Good Samaritans from approaching danger. 
  • If there’s a fire, smoke or another hazard, exit the vehicle without touching the ground and the vehicle simultaneously. Jump out with your feet together and shuffle or hop away to safety. 

Tree trimming caution 

  • Avoid trimming trees near any electrical line  
  • If a tree on or near power lines is creating an immediate safety hazard, report it to DTE by calling 800-477-4747. 
  • Trees growing near the lines but not causing immediate issues will be trimmed as part of an ongoing maintenance schedule. You can also let DTE know about non-emergency tree issues on the tree trimming web page. 
  • Note: Trees near your service drop are your responsibility. For trimming around the service drop, always hire a professional tree-trimming service. The service drop carries high-voltage electricity and should never be touched. 

Underground lines awareness 

  • When landscaping or digging, be mindful of any possible underground electric and natural gas lines. 
  • Always contact MISS DIG before starting any project, regardless of its size. 

Remember, while electricity powers modern life, it can be dangerous in certain situations. Anytime is the right time to discuss electric safety with your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. 

For more information on what DTE is doing across the many communities it serves, visit the DTE blog site at EmpoweringMichigan.com.