Clearances specified in these narratives are from the National Electric Code (NEC). Local electrical utilities may have standards that take precedence over NEC standards.  You should take the time to find out what is required in the areas in which you commonly inspect. Some utilities will supply you with a copy of their Electrical Installation and Use Standards upon request (scroll down for list).


NEC Clearances


  1. Clearance from obstructions (trees)
  2. No encroachment on neighboring properties
  3. Clearance above ground (WARNING! CLEARANCES CAN VARY, check with your local utility)
  4. 10 ft. above walking surface, including deck or balcony (to bottom of drip loop);
  5. 12 ft. above driveway;
  6. 18 ft. above a roadway; and
  7. 22.5 ft. above a pool (surface of water). 10 ft. measured horizontally from pool wall or diving structure.
  8. Other types of clearances
  9. 8 ft. (3m)- above a roof with 4&12 pitch or less;
  10. 3 ft. (3.7m)- above a roofsteeper than 4&12;
  11. 3 ft. (1m)- clearance from operable windows, doors, porches, balconies, stairs, or any other locations from which a person could touch the service conductors; and
  12. 12 ft. (30cm)- from communications wires/cables at any point, including the point of attachment to the structure


Major Electrical Utilities


CA    Pacific Gas and Electric —–

CA    Southern California Edison  ——-

FL     Florida Power & Light ——-

IL     Commonwealth Edison   ——-

NY    Consolidated Edison ——-

GA    Georgia Power   ——-

VA    Dominion Resources  ——-

MI     DTE Energy ——-

NJ     Public Service Enterprise Group ——-

TX    Energy Future Holdings   ——-

CO, MI, MN, NM, ND, TX, WI,    Xcel Energy —–