News Release

May 21, 2015
PNM Reminds the Public that Electrical Transformers are Deadly

Recent tagging activity prompts safety warning by PNM and Santa Fe Police Department


Santa Fe, N.M.: PNM and Santa Fe Police Department would like to remind the public that electrical transformers are deadly. A vandal recently climbed a three phase 12,500 volt line utility pole located in downtown Santa Fe and tagged the electrical transformer with spray paint graffiti. The tagger was most likely within 2 feet of the live conductor and the transformer is approximately 30 feet from the ground. Proximity to a live wire is deadly if someone should come in contact and the aerosol paint used could create a cloud that conducts electricity Santa Fe Police officers have seen an increase in this type of activity and have chased vandals from poles.

"It is extremely dangerous for vandals to spray paint graffiti around energized wires and transformers," said Dennis Hernandez, PNM Northern Area Manager of Operations. "These vandals are lucky to be alive."

PNM's line crews are trained and experienced in working around electrical power wires, poles and transformers. Anyone observing vandalism should call 911 immediately.

There are many safety hazards around electricity. Energized electric lines and equipment are a primary concern, and risks can be lessened by applying some basic safety principles. These are things everyone should know: 

Downed Lines: Stay at least 30 feet away from the wire and keep others away. Electricity can pass from an energized source through a victim. If a rescuer touches the victim, the rescuer also can become a victim. If you see a line on the ground, assume that it is energized.

Control Traffic: Keep spectators away (at least 100 feet). After dark, light the scene as well as you can by directing headlights or spotlights on the broken or fallen wires. Metal or cable guard-rails, steel fences and telephone lines all may be energized by a fallen wire.

Protect Yourself: Never rely on rubber tires, rubber boots, raincoats, rubber gloves or ordinary wire cutters for protection from electricity. Don't touch (or allow your clothing to contact) a wire, victim or vehicle that may be energized.

Notify PNM: Never attempt to handle wires yourself unless you are properly trained and equipped.

With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving more than 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit