We enjoy celebrating the holidays in all the communities where we live and work, so we understand your concerns. While a utility pole may seem like a convenient place to post a sign, hang a flag or holiday lights, it simply isn’t safe. Over the years, we have noticed more and more communities attaching things to Xcel Energy owned utility poles. . That’s why we’re working with communities to make sure we’re following National Electric Safety Code and our own safety guidelines. We do not, however, issue fines as some have mentioned. We will continue to work with communities to find options for decorations that are safe for our employees and the public.
Safety is our top concern – ornamental attachments on utility poles can be a serious safety
issue to community personnel, our employees and the public. While attachments are not
allowed on our distribution poles, we will allow certain attachments on our streetlight poles if
we don’t have safety concerns. Following are answers to some commonly asked questions.
If you have additional questions or need more information, please contact Christie Black at
715-737-2445 or your Xcel Energy community service manager.
Q: Why is Xcel Energy addressing the issue of attachments on utility poles now?
A: While a utility pole may seem like a convenient place to post a sign or hang a flag, it
simply isn’t safe. Over the years, we have noticed more and more communities attaching
things to our utility poles. To help ensure the safety of community personnel, our employees
and the public, we are working with our communities to observe the National Electric Safety
Code along with our own safety standards.
Q: How does attaching items like banners or flags on utility poles impact linemen?
A: Our line crews work in all types of weather conditions, and attaching items like banners
and flags to utility poles can cause serious hazards because it impacts their ability to safely
do their job. If a lineman needs to access overhead equipment for maintenance or to restore
power during an outage, these items can become hazardous obstacles.
Q: How can these attachments be a safety issue for residents?
A: There are inherent risks associated with overhead power lines. It’s important to stay at
least 10 feet away. Having attachments on our poles can put people in the danger zone. For
example, if a person gets too close to energized lines to attach an ornamental item, they
could be exposed to thousands of volts of electricity. If that object is metal, other people
could be put at risk for an electric shock. There also is the risk of an attachment, such as a
hanging flower pot, falling and injuring people beneath.
Q: Are ornamental attachments allowed on distribution poles?
A: No, it’s simply not safe to put ornamental attachments on distribution poles, so they are
Q: Are ornamental attachments allowed on Xcel Energy-owned streetlight poles?
A: If deemed safe, we will allow single-pole banners, flags, holiday decorations and/or street
signs on streetlight poles.
Q: What is the difference between a distribution and a streetlight pole?
A: Distribution poles support power lines and possibly a streetlight. While streetlight poles
support only streetlights and the wiring necessary for the light. It can be tricky to distinguish
the two, so we’ll be available to assist you with that.
Q: Are there any items that we can’t put on streetlight poles?
A: Yes. For example, banners attached to two or more poles, flower baskets and speakers
and wiring can’t be placed on streetlight poles. We’ll work with you to determine what can
and can’t go on the streetlight poles in your community.
Q: I understand that we will need to remove any unapproved attachments currently
on Xcel Energy-owned poles, but do we also need to remove existing electric
attachments, such as wiring, outlets and fusible disconnects?
A: All electric attachments on our distribution poles will need to be removed. However, to
ensure safety, please contact your Outdoor Lighting representative as customer-owned
electrical attachments require a licensed electrician and Xcel Energy lineman to disconnect
from our poles.
Q: Are all the communities served by Xcel Energy impacted by this policy?
A: Yes, this is a corporate-wide policy. We will work with communities in all eight states we
Q: What steps do I need to take to apply for approval to place attachments on Xcel
Energy-owned streetlight poles?
A. Please follow these steps:
- Contact Outdoor Lighting and request a “Customer Streetlight Attachment
Application.” This form can be sent to you via email.
- Complete the “Customer Streetlight Attachment Application” and email it to
email@example.com or send it in the mail to Xcel Energy Outdoor
Lighting, P.O. Box 8, Eau Claire, WI 54702-0008.
- your application. In most cases, Wait while we process each streetlight pole will
require an inspection by Xcel Energy personnel to validate that the pole is structurally
sound to support the attachments. If your request is approved, we will send you a
“License Agreement Regarding Streetlight Poles.” If your request is not approved, we
will let you know as soon as possible.
- Review, sign and return the “License Agreement Regarding Streetlight Poles.”