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High Voltage Power Line Act/One-Call Act

What you need to know about power lines before you work.

One of the most potentially hazardous electrical situations in industrial plants and on construction sites is accidental contact with overhead or underground wiring. Protection from contact with overhead wiring is provided best by ISOLATION, or distance. The covering on some overhead lines is weatherproofing; it is not intended to provide insulated protection from contact. This plastic coating may become brittle, making it easy to crack and fall off.

Operators of equipment like:

  • Backhoes
  • Dump trucks
  • Bucket trucks
  • Concrete pumpers
  • Booms and cranes

should be especially conscious of overhead wiring. The hazard of contact is also posed to workers on scaffolding or those handling or moving any type of long tools or equipment, like sections of metal pipe.

Before you begin any work, including construction, within 10 feet of an overhead electrical line carrying more than 600 volts, you should check your state laws, regulations and guidelines, and federal standards.

If you're working around high voltage lines anywhere in the Mississippi Power Company's service territory, please call:

1-800-532-1502

If you are digging, call the Mississippi One Call telephone number:

1-800-227-6477

Here are the Mississippi's "Call Before You Work" regulations:

I. High Voltage Power Lines Act

The following is the Mississippi law governing work performed in or near high voltage lines. It also mirrors the United States Occupational Safety and Health Act requirements for work performed in close proximity to such lines. Contact your local Mississippi Power Company office should you need to work in or around any high voltage lines before commencing such work.

Chapter 15. High Voltage Power Lines*

SEC. 45-15-1. Definitions.

The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section, except in those instances, if any, where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

  • (a) "High voltage" means a voltage in excess of six hundred (600) volts between conductors or from any conductor to ground.
  • (b) "Overhead lines" mean all bare or insulated electrical conductors installed above the ground.
  • (c) "Person" means a natural person, firm, copartnership, association, corporation or governmental entity.
  • (d) "Authorized person" means:
    • (i) An employee or agent of an electric utility which generates, transmits or delivers electricity.
    • (ii) An employee or agent of a utility which provides and whose work relates to communication services or state, county or municipal agencies which have authorized circuit construction on or near the poles or structures of a utility.
    • (iii) An employee or agent of an industrial plant whose work relates to the electrical system of the industrial plant.
    • (iv) An employee or agent of a cable television or communication services company or an employee of a contractor of a cable television or communication services company if specifically authorized by the owner of the poles to make cable television or communication services attachments.
    • (v) An employee or agent of a rail transportation company whose work relates to the electrical systems of the rail transportation company.
    • (vi) An employee or agent of a state, county or municipal electric utility or agency which has or whose work relates to overhead electrical lines, circuit construction or conductors on poles or structures of any type.

    (e) "Electric utility" means any person engaged in the generation, transmission or distribution of electricity.

    (f) "Warning sign" means a weather-resistant sign of not less than seven (7) inches by ten (10) inches reading as follows: "DANGER-UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE THIS EQUIPMENT NEARER THAN 10 FEET TO HIGH VOLTAGE OVERHEAD LINES."

SEC. 45-15-3. Activities performed in close proximity to high voltage overhead lines; precautions.

Unless the procedures have been followed as provided by Sections 45-15-9 and 45-15-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, to deter contact with high voltage overhead lines:

  • (a) No person shall, individually or through an agent or employee, perform or require any other person to perform any function or activity upon any land, building, highway or other premises if at any time during the performance of that function or activity the person performing the function or activity could be reasonably expected to move or be placed within ten (10) feet of any high voltage overhead line or if any equipment or part of any tool or material used by the person could be reasonably expected to move or be placed within ten (10) feet of any high voltage overhead line during the performance of any function or activity.
  • (b) No person shall, individually or through an agent or employee, operate or bring any mechanical equipment or hoisting equipment or any other equipment or part of any tool or material within ten (10) feet of any high voltage overhead line.
  • (c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons lawfully occupying the land where the line is located and engaged in the regular and ordinary functions and activities of farming, ranching or other agricultural pursuits.

SEC. 45-15-5. Activities performed in close proximity to high voltage overhead lines; employees.

No person shall permit any employee to do any of the things prohibited in Section 45-15-3.

SEC. 45-15-7. Certain methods not to be employed in obtaining the required eight-foot clearance.

The ten-foot clearance required in Section 45-15-3 shall not be provided by movement of the high voltage overhead line through strain impressed, by attachments, or otherwise.

SEC. 45-15-9. Performance of work in closer proximity to high voltage lines than permitted; notice to utility; arrangements for deterring contact with lines; binding arbitration.

  • (1) If any person desires to carry on any function, activity, work or operation in closer proximity to any high voltage overhead line than permitted by this chapter, the person responsible for performing the work shall promptly notify the electric utility operating the high voltage overhead line, in writing, on a form to be provided by such electric utility, and shall not perform the work until mutually satisfactory arrangements have been made between such electric utility and the person or business entity responsible for performing the work, to deter contact with the high voltage overhead lines as provided in subsection (2) below, however, this requirement shall not apply to persons lawfully occupying the land where the line is located and engaged in the regular and ordinary functions and activities of farming, ranching or other agricultural pursuits.
  • (2) The person responsible for performing the work in the vicinity of the high voltage overhead lines shall at no cost, receive a written cost estimate from the utility for providing the necessary safety arrangements. If such person disagrees with the reasonableness of any written cost proposal or believes that the cost proposal calls for more work than is reasonably necessary to protect those working in close proximity to the high voltage overhead lines, the following options are available to such person:
    • (a) The electric utility shall be directed to commence work under protest; such person shall pay the electric utility for the work in accordance with the cost proposal, but shall be entitled to seek recovery of all or any part of the money paid to the electric utility in binding arbitration as is hereinafter provided; or
    • (b) Prior to directing the work to be performed, the person responsible for performing the work in the vicinity of high voltage overhead power lines may submit to binding arbitration, as hereinafter provided, to resolve the issues of the reasonableness and necessity of the cost, and the description of the work to be performed by the electric utility under its written cost proposal.
  • (3) In the event of a disagreement between the electric utility and the person responsible for performing work in the vicinity of the high voltage overhead line regarding the reasonableness or necessity of the price or the work to be performed to deter contact with high voltage overhead lines, the disputes shall be submitted to binding arbitration in accordance with the procedures set forth in Sections 11-15-101 through 11-15-143, Mississippi Code of 1972. The Public Service Commission shall serve as arbitrator for the purposes of this chapter. The demand for arbitration shall be specifically enforceable in any court of law or equity. The decision of the arbitrators as to the reasonableness or necessity of the cost or the work to be performed shall be final and binding upon the parties.
  • (4) The electric utility shall commence arrangements as provided herein within five (5) working days of the mutual agreement, notice to proceed under protest, or the decision of the arbitrators. Once initiated, the clearance work will continue without unreasonable interruption to completion. Should the electric utility fail to provide for temporary clearances or safety measures in a timely manner as required by this chapter, the electric utility shall be liable for costs or loss of production of the person requesting assistance to work in close proximity to high voltage overhead lines. In locations where identity of the electric utility operating the high voltage overhead lines is not easily known, the Mississippi Public Service Commission shall, upon request, provide the name, address and telephone number of such utility for notification purposes.
  • SEC. 45-15-13. Violation of chapter; application of chapter.

  • (1) Any person who knowingly violates this chapter may be subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) to be imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction against said person and such penalty shall be deposited in the General Fund.
  • (2) There is hereby created a right of action on behalf of any electric utility which is required to pay any sum for injury or death of any person resulting from contact with a high voltage overhead line against any person whose negligence is a proximate contributing cause of such injury or death for that portion of any non-agreed judgment for damages rendered against and paid by the electric utility and attributable to the negligence of such person, however, the electric utility may not recover any portion of such sum which is attributable to its own negligence. The right of action created hereby shall not be available against persons who comply with the provisions of this chapter, and violations of this chapter shall not be considered negligence per se but may be considered as evidence of negligence.
  • (3) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to alter, amend, restrict or limit the liability of persons as defined herein for violation of his duty under current law to use a high degree of care in the construction, maintenance and supply of electricity; nor shall any person be relieved from liability as a result of violations of standards under existing law regarding the construction, maintenance and supply of electricity, where such failure to use a high degree of care or violations of existing standards are found to be a cause of damage to property, personal injury or death.
  • (4) Other than an electric utility filing a claim under this chapter, nothing contained herein shall be construed to alter, amend or expand in any way the provisions of Section 71-3-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, as to an employee, his legal representative, husband or wife, parents, dependents, next of kin or anyone otherwise entitled to recover damages at common law or otherwise from such employer on account of such injury or death.
  • (5) Nothing contained herein shall be considered as a waiver of immunity in whole or in part as to any governmental entity or construed to alter, amend, restrict or limit in any way the protections provided in Sections 11-46-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972.
  • (6) The provisions contained in this chapter do not apply to construction, reconstruction, operation or maintenance by an authorized person of overhead electrical or communication circuits or conductors and their supporting structures or electrical generating, transmission or distribution systems or communication systems.

SEC. 45-15-15. Severability clause.

Each section of this chapter, and every part of each section, is hereby declared to be independent, and any court holding that any section or part thereof as void, ineffective or unconstitutional for any cause, shall not affect the other sections or parts thereof, and it is now declared that the other sections or parts of sections would have been enacted regardless of any section or parts of sections which might be held unconstitutional, inoperative or ineffective.

*This is the law as of November 21, 1997. MPC provides this law as a service to you but it does not relieve you of the responsibility to ensure that such law has not been modified or repealed after this date.

II. Mississippi One-Call

The following is the Mississippi law requiring notification to Mississippi One-Call before conducting any excavation by mechanical device or by hand deeper than 12 inches. All of Mississippi Power Company's service territory is included in this One-Call system. Call 1-800-227-6477 before you dig.

Chapter 13. Regulation of Excavations near Underground Utility Facilities

SEC. 77-13-1. Legislative intent.

It is the intent of the Legislature to protect underground utility facilities and other underground facilities from destruction or damage, in order to prevent death of or injury to persons, property damage to public and private property, and loss or interruption of essential utility services to the general public.

SEC. 77-13-3. Definitions.

The words defined in this section shall have the following meanings when found in Sections 77-13-1 through 77-13-17:

  • (a) "Excavate or excavation" shall mean any operation in which earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground is moved or otherwise displaced by any means, except: (i) the tilling of the soil less than twenty-four (24) inches in depth for agricultural purposes; or (ii) an operation in which earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground is moved or otherwise displaced to a depth of less than twelve (12) inches on private property by the property owner without the use of mechanical excavating equipment; or (iii) an operation in which earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground is moved or otherwise displaced without the use of mechanical excavating equipment to a depth of less than twelve (12) inches on private property by an excavator who is not the property owner, except when such excavation is in a clearly marked underground facility right of way. The term "excavate" shall include, but not be limited to, the operations of demolition, blasting, grading, land leveling, trenching, digging, ditching, drilling, augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing, driving, jacking, wrecking, razing, rending, moving or removing any structure or other material or mass of material on or below the ground.
  • (b) "Utility" shall mean any person who supplies, distributes or transports by means of underground utility lines or underground facilities any of the following materials or services: gas, mixture of gases, petroleum, petroleum products or hazardous, toxic, flammable or corrosive liquids, electricity, telecommunications (including fiber optics), sewage, drainage, water, steam or other substances.
  • (c) "Underground utility lines" shall mean underground or buried cable, conduit pipes and related facilities for transportation and delivery of electricity, telecommunications (including fiber optics), water, sewage, gas, mixtures of gases, petroleum, petroleum products or hazardous, flammable, toxic or corrosive liquids.
  • (d) "Underground facility" shall mean any underground utility lines and other items which shall be buried or placed below ground or submerged for use in connection with underground utility lines and including but not be limited to pipes, sewers, conduits, cables, valves, lines, wires, manholes, vaults, attachments, and those portions of poles below the ground.
  • (e) "Person" shall mean any individual, firm, partnership, association, trustee, receiver, assignee, corporation, utility, joint venture, municipality, state governmental unit, subdivision or instrumentality of the state, or any legal representative thereof.
  • (f) "Damage" shall mean the substantial weakening of structural or lateral support of underground utility lines and underground facilities, penetration or destruction of any protective coating, housing or other protective devices of an underground utility line or underground facility, and the partial or complete severance of any underground utility line or underground facility, but does not include any operator's abandoned facility.
  • (g) "Operator" shall mean any individual who owns or operates a utility.
  • (h) "Working day" shall mean a twenty-four-hour period commencing from the time of receipt by Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., or the nonmember operator of the notification in accordance with this act, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  • (i) "Mechanical excavating equipment" shall mean all equipment powered by any motor, engine, or hydraulic or pneumatic device used for excavating and shall include but not be limited to trenchers, bulldozers, backhoes, power shovels, scrapers, drag lines, clam shells, augers, drills, cable and pipe plows and other plowing-in or pulling-in equipment.
  • (j) "Excavator" shall mean any person who engages directly in excavation.
  • (k) "Mark" shall mean the use of stakes, paint, or other clearly identifiable materials to show the field location of underground facilities in accordance with the current color code standard of the American Public Works Association, or the uncovering or exposing of underground facilities so that the excavator may readily see the location of same, or the pointing out to the excavator of certain aboveground facilities such as, but not limited to, manhole covers, valve boxes and pipe and cable risers, which indicate the location of underground facilities.
  • (l) "One-call association" shall mean a service through which a person can notify the operator(s) of underground facilities of plans to excavate and request marking of facilities, hereinafter referred to as Mississippi One-Call System, Inc.
  • (m) "Nonmember operator" shall mean any operator who elects not to join Mississippi One-Call System, Inc.
  • (n) "Member operator" shall mean any operator who is a member of Mississippi One-Call System, Inc.
  • (o) "Abandoned facility" shall mean any underground utility line or underground utility facilities no longer used in the conduct of the owner/operator's business and are not intended to be used in the future.
  • (p) "Emergency excavation" shall mean excavation at times of emergency involving danger to life, health or property or a customer service outage.
  • (q) "Approximate location" of underground utility lines or underground facilities shall mean information about an operator's underground utility lines or underground facilities which is provided to a person by an operator and must be accurate within eighteen (18) inches measured horizontally from the outside edge of each side of such operator's facility, or a strip of land eighteen (18) inches either side of the operator's field mark, or the marked width of the facility or line plus eighteen (18) inches on each side of the marked width of the facility or line.

SEC. 77-13-5. Excavator's investigation of site; notice to utility of planned excavation.

  • (1) In addition to complying with all other applicable regulations and requirements of federal, state, county and municipal authorities, no person shall engage in excavation of any kind, before meeting the notification requirements of this chapter. Under this chapter the excavator shall:
    • (a) Inform himself/herself of the presence and location of any underground utility lines and underground facilities in or near the area where excavation is to be conducted;
    • (b) Plan and conduct the excavation to avoid or minimize interference with or damage to underground utility lines and underground facilities in or near the excavation area; maintain a clearance between any underground utility line or underground facility and the cutting edge or point of any mechanical excavating equipment, taking into account the known limit of control of such cutting edge or point, as may be reasonably necessary to avoid damage to such facility; and provide such support for underground utility lines or underground facilities in and near the excavation area, including during any backfilling operations, as may be reasonably necessary for the protection of such facilities.
    • (c) Except as provided in Section 77-13-11, provide not less than two (2) and not more than ten (10) working days' advance written, electronic or telephonic notice of the commencement, extent, location and duration of the excavation work to Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., and any nonmember operator(s) of any underground utility lines or underground facilities in and near the excavation area, so that Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., member operator(s) and any nonmember operator(s) may locate and mark the location of underground utility lines and underground facilities in the excavation area.
    • The written, electronic or telephonic notice required by this subparagraph (c) shall contain the name, address and telephone number of the person filing the notice of intent, the person responsible for the excavation, the starting date, anticipated duration, type of excavation to be conducted, the location of the proposed excavation and whether or not explosives are to be used.
  • (2) The markings provided by member and nonmember operators shall only be valid for a period of ten (10) working days from the proposed starting date provided to the nonmember operator(s) or Mississippi One-Call System, Inc. The person responsible for the excavation project shall renew the notification with Mississippi One-Call and any nonmember operator(s) at least two (2) days prior to this expiration date and shall continue to renew such notification in the same manner throughout the duration of the excavation. Such renewal notice shall be valid for a period of ten (10) working days from the date of the expiration of the prior notification.
  • (3) Compliance with the notice requirements of this section shall not be required of: (a) persons plowing less than twenty-four (24) inches in depth for agricultural purposes; (b) persons who are moving or otherwise displacing, by hand, earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground at a depth of less than twelve (12) inches on property they own; and (c) persons, other than the property owner, who are moving or otherwise displacing, by hand, earth, rock or other material or mass of material on or below the ground at a depth of less than twelve (12) inches, except when such excavation is in a clearly marked underground facility right of way.

SEC. 77-13-7. Notification of damaged lines.

  • (1) Each person responsible for any excavation that results in damage to an underground utility line or underground facility, immediately upon discovery of such damage, shall notify Mississippi One
  • (2) Each person responsible for any excavation that results in damage to an underground pipeline or underground facility permitting the escape of any hazardous, flammable, toxic or corrosive gas or
  • (3) Except where the excavator has fully complied with the provisions of Section 77-13-5 and subsections (1) and (2) of this section, each person responsible for excavation that results in damage t

SEC. 77-13-9. Marking location of underground facilities; timeliness.

  • (1) Every person owning or operating underground utility lines or underground facilities shall, upon receiving advance notice of the commencement of excavation, in accordance with Section 77-13-7, make an investigation, within two (2) working days from the time notice is provided in accordance with this act to the nonmember operator(s) or Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., to determine the approximate location of its underground utility lines or underground facilities in the area of the proposed excavation, and shall either: (a) mark the approximate location of underground utility lines and underground facilities in or near the area of the excavation, so as to enable the person engaged in excavation work to locate the lines and facilities in advance of and during the excavation work; or (b) advise in writing or by telephone or electronic means that it has no underground utility lines or underground facilities in the excavation area.
  • (2) In lieu of such marking, the operator may request to be present at the site upon commencement of the excavation, so long as the operator complies within two (2) working days of the receipt of the notice.
  • (3) When an excavator, upon arriving at an excavation site, sees evidence of unmarked underground utility lines or underground facilities or encounters an unmarked underground utility line or underground facility on an excavation site after excavation has commenced where notice of intent has been made in accordance with the provisions of this act, that excavator must immediately contact Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., and the nonmember operator(s). All operator(s) thus notified must contact the excavator within four (4) hours and inform the excavator of any of their known underground facilities, active or abandoned, at the site of the excavation.
  • (4) When marking the approximate location of the facilities, the operator shall follow the color code designated and described herein, unless otherwise provided for by specific administrative rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this act, namely:
Utility or Type of Facility Group Identifying Color
Electric Safety Red
Petroleum Product/Hazardous/
Flammable/Corrosive/Toxic
Materials, Product and Steam
Lines, Gas or Gaseous Material
High Visibility Safety Yellow
Telecommunications (including
fiber optic) and CATV
Safety Alert Orange
Water and Irrigation Safety Precaution Blue
Slurry Lines Safety Precaution Blue
Sewer and Drain Lines Safety Green
Temporary Survey Markings High Visibility Pink
Proposed Excavation White

SEC. 77-13-11. Exceptions to advance notice requirement.

    (1) The advance notice provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person making an excavation at times of emergency involving danger to life, health or property or a customer service outage. for the excavation shall immediately notify the operator of the damaged or dislocated underground facilities of the damage or dislocation.

    (2) An imminent danger to life, health, property or customer service exists whenever there is a substantial likelihood that injury, loss of life, health or customer services, or substantial property

SEC. 77-13-13. Advance notice as relieving excavator of certain liabilities.

The act of giving notice in accordance with Section 77-13-5 shall relieve the notifying party of all liability to a utility should such notice be ignored or the information provided by the utility subsequent to said notice be materially inaccurate; provided, however, the act of giving advance notice and/or obtaining information as required by this act shall not relieve any person making excavations from doing so in a careful and prudent manner, nor shall it relieve such person from liability for any injury or damage proximately resulting from his/her negligence.

SEC. 77-13-15. Notice to one-call system effective as to all members.

In any area where a Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., is operative, notification to all members of Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., may be effected by giving notice to Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., in writing as forth in Section 77-13-5, or by telephone, provided that the same information required by Section 77-13-5 is furnished by the person or public agency responsible for the excavation activities.

SEC. 77-13-17. Operator responsibilities.

  • (1) Any operator who fails to follow, abide by or comply with this chapter shall be responsible for the cost or expense the excavator shall incur as a direct result of the failure of the operator to follow, abide by, or comply with the provisions of this chapter.
  • (2) Operators who have underground utility lines or underground facilities within this state shall either (a) participate in Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., or (b) provide an in-house program which meets the operational requirements of receiving those excavation notifications mandated by this act.
  • (3) Nonmember operators of underground pipeline facilities must notify the public and known excavators of the availability and use of its in-house notification program.
  • (4) The person giving notice of the intent to excavate to Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., or to a nonmember operator shall be furnished an individual reference file number for each notification and, upon request, shall be furnished the names of the operators to whom the notification will be transmitted.
  • (5) An adequate record of all notifications shall be maintained by Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., and nonmember operators in order to document timely compliance with this act. These records shall be retained for a period of not less than four (4) years and shall be made available at a reasonable cost upon proper and adequate advance request.
  • (6) The services of Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., acting on behalf of member operators will be provided on working days as defined in Section 77-13-3(h) at least between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. A nonmember operator will supply the same services during its normal business hours.
  • (7) Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., and nonmember operators will voice-record the notification telephone calls and after-hours calls will at least reach a voice recording which explains emergency notification procedures.
  • (8) All member operators shall provide Mississippi One-Call System, Inc., the following information:
    • (a) A list of counties, cities and towns in which the operator has underground utility lines or underground facilities in each county.
    • (b) The townships, ranges, sections and quarter sections in each county in which the operator has underground utility lines or underground facilities or for other reasons wish to receive notification of proposed excavation.
    • (c) An update on an annual basis of each operator's underground utility lines or underground facilities for the State of Mississippi.

SEC. 77-13-19. Enforcement; injunctions.

In addition to any other rights and remedies which a person may have, any person shall have the right to resort to and apply for injunctive relief, both temporary and permanent, in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce compliance with the provisions of this statute and to restrain and prevent violations and threatened violations thereof.

*This is the law as of November 21, 1997. MPC provides this law as a service to you but it does not relieve you of the responsibility to ensure that such law has not been modified or repealed after this date.