Before You Dig, Call 811

Call 811 at least 48 hours before you plan to dig on your property for any reason.  Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 to locate underground utility lines in your work area. Bandera Electric will be contacted in order to locate primary power lines nearby. You must take advantage of this free service, as you could be liable for damages if underground facilities are affected by digging.

For more information or to submit your request online, visit the Texas 811 website.

BEC General Clearance Requirements

There are three organizations, the National Electrical Safety Code, National Electric Code and the State of Texas that influence these general standards. When the standard varies, the strictest option is required. If code standards are in question, members are encouraged to contact their local code authority.

Vertical Clearance for Energized Lines from 0 to 750 volts*

  Clearance Requirements
Railroads 24 feet
Public streets, alleys, roads and highways 22 feet
Commercial driveways, parking lots & other areas subject to truck traffic 22 feet
Residential driveways 16 feet
Other land with vehicle traffic 16 feet
Spaces or ways with pedestrian traffic 12 feet
Spaces with limited building height (300 volts or less) No lower than 10.5 feet
Rural land beside roadway 14 feet
Urban land beside roadway 16 feet
Swimming areas 22.5 feet
Building roofs (no pedestrians) 3.5 feet
Building roofs (with pedestrians) 11 feet
Signs, chimneys, antennas, tanks 3.5 feet
*For clearance information on lines energized above 750 volts, contact BEC.

BEC Voltage Standards

BEC follows the range of service voltages in use by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for Electric Power Systems and Equipment C84.1-1989. The term “service voltage” is defined as the point where BEC's electrical system connects with that of a member.

ANSI Standard C84.1
Nominal Service Voltage Desirable Range
Requires that occurrences of service voltage outside range are infrequent
Acceptable Range
Occurrences outside the desirable range resulting from practical design or operating conditions that are limited in extent, frequency, and duration
120 126-114 127-110
208; 218-197 220-191
240 252-228 254-220
277 291-263 293-254
480 504-456 508-440

Higher voltages (at primary level) are also part of BEC's nominal service voltages. Contact the cooperative for information about primary level voltages.

For more details about our service voltages contact the cooperative.

Generator Safety

Many of our members rely on generators during storms or for other temporary or remote power needs. However, there are a number of hazards involved—including shock and electrocution, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Please know the risks and proper safety procedures before using any portable generator.

Driving Safety

Drivers may come in contact with power poles or lines in an auto accident or during a storm. The vehicle or ground can become electrified and you or anybody else around runs the risk of electrocution.

In the event of fire, jump clear of the vehicle, making sure not to touch the car and the ground at the same time. Then, hop with both feet together to move farther away. Otherwise, follow these steps:

  • As long as the vehicle is in contact with a line, do not step off.
  • Call for help and wait until a utility professional says it’s safe to leave the vehicle.
  • Warn others to stay away.
  • If the equipment is operable and can be moved out of contact without doing additional damage to the line or poles, do so.

Learn more here.

First Responder Safety

People, cars, and power lines don’t mix. Unfortunately, automobile accidents or extreme weather events can bring them together. When an overhead power line is down, anything it contacts may become electrified—including the ground. Touching or stepping anywhere near these areas puts first responders in danger of electrocution, whether you are moving toward or away from the area. Walking through an affected area is particularly dangerous, as each footfall may land in different voltage zones—causing a fatal charge to travel up one leg and down the other.

Always assume that a downed wire is energized and contact BEC immediately. Once the line has been de-energized, BEC personnel will notify first responders that it is safe to perform rescue and recovery, traffic control, and other important tasks.

In the event of an automobile accident involving power poles or electricity lines, follow these steps:

  • Stay back and warn others to stay back.
  • Make sure all vehicle occupants stay inside until BEC has arrived to de-energize the lines.
  • If the equipment is operable and can be safely moved out of contact without doing additional damage to the line or poles, ask the driver do so.
  • In the event of fire, instruct the driver and any passengers to jump clear of the vehicle, making sure not to touch the car and the ground at the same time. Then, hop with both feet together to move farther away.