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Don’t Shoot the Lines

Just one fiber line damaged by a shot can have a repair cost of $20,000 to $30,000 and will require an extended outage

By McKayla Kiernan, Communications Specialist

Choptank Electric Cooperative is made up of 56,000-plus members who all rely on the safety and upkeep of our power grid. Our power lines and utility poles are the foundation of how we all enjoy the comforts, convenience and the power of reliable electricity and quality internet. An increasing, and unfortunate, issue occurring is our power lines being shot by hunters and gun enthusiasts. We’ve experienced a lot of damage to our broadband lines recently, which requires extensive repairs to the fiber-optic cables with specialized equipment to restore internet to our members.

We know the majority of hunters practice safe hunting and they understand the potential hazards when discharging a firearm. We encourage these experienced hunters who are familiar with the area to help identify locations of electrical equipment to the younger, less-experienced hunters and gun enthusiasts. Tampering with or misuse of our fiber and electric lines cannot only put you in danger, but will also affect all other members down the line.

Shooting at transmission facilities — wires, poles and insulators — is dangerous to you, jeopardizes everyone’s power, and is a federal crime. A gunshot can make electricity arc to the ground or cause the wire to fall, with a high risk of serious injury or death. Never attempt to shoot through the wires or at anything that may be on the wires or poles.

Structures such as tree stands attached to a transmission tower, pole, or underneath a high-voltage line, even temporarily, are prohibited. Contact with these structures can be extremely dangerous due to high-voltage power flowing through the lines.

Maryland law has several provisions that prohibit hunters from damaging the property of another. Please be advised that if you or hunters that you allow on your property cause damage to Choptank’s equipment, you could be fined by the Department of Natural Resources and/or held liable for the cost of repairs.

Please respect yourself, your fellow members and our power infrastructure. Thank you for being a valued member of Choptank Electric Cooperative; please find helpful safety tips at www.choptankelectric.coop/dstl.