Why Are There Balls On Some Power Lines?

Why Are There Balls On Some Power Lines?

The bright-colored balls on power lines actually serve a purpose.

Thad Warren
Thad Warren
October 2021
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2 Minutes

Have you ever noticed those colorful balls on power lines near your home and wondered why they're there? While there are several misconceptions about marker balls on power lines, these objects serve a distinct purpose. EnergyBot has the answers to all of your energy-related questions, including everything you want to know about what the balls on electric lines are for.

What Are the Balls On Power Lines?

The brightly-colored balls you see on power lines are markers for visibility. You'll notice that electric line balls are always a bold color like yellow, orange, red or white. Many places with power lines that feature markers have dense forests, mountain ranges or fields in the distance that can make the lines difficult to see. The bright colors of power line balls contrast well with dark green or grey landscapes to make power lines stand out. 


Why Are Marker Balls There?

Visibility markers on power lines are there to ensure low-flying pilots can see them. Collisions between aircraft and power lines can be dangerous for the pilot and lead to damaged lines. The balls on electricity lines help prevent life-threatening injuries and service disruptions in the surrounding area. 

How Do Power Line Markers Improve Safety? 

Power lines are difficult to see from the air and unforgiving in the case of a collision. The balls you see on electric lines improve the structure's visibility to ensure safer flying. Helicopter or airplane pilots can see the markers' bold colors from the air and know to steer clear. Preventing collisions between aircraft and power lines is essential to pilot safety and can also prevent electrical wildfires.


Why Are There Power Ball Markers Near Your Home or Business? 

You're more likely to see balls on the electric lines in your town if an airport is nearby. Large aircraft travel at high altitudes for most of their flights, but they fly low enough after takeoff and before landing to justify concerns over power line collisions. Smaller planes and helicopters travel at lower altitudes, so marking hazards like power lines is always important. Power line markers are also common in deep valleys and mountain ranges, where there's less distance between aircraft and the ground.

Dispelling Rumors About the Balls on Electric Lines 

People who don't know the full story sometimes speculate around the purpose and function of electric line balls. A few common misconceptions are that power line markers are weights for the lines, weather sensors or even surveillance systems. These theories are incorrect. The electric balls you see on power lines serve one primary purpose — to provide visibility for low-flying pilots. 

Learn More About Energy Infrastructures and Savings Opportunities With EnergyBot

Pilots fly at low altitudes all the time, so it's nice to know that the marker balls on power lines are there to ensure safe air travel. You can learn more about electricity infrastructures when you read the EnergyBot blog online. We cover all kinds of topics that help you understand and make the most of your energy system.