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Around our equipment & facilities

Dams, substations, and pipelines can be dangerous places. Learn how to stay safe around our equipment and facilities.

Snowmobiles & all-terrain vehicles

Avoid driving near substations, power lines, and hydroelectric facilities on or off the trail. Darkness, fog, and blowing snow can make hazards difficult to spot and avoid.

Keep watch for:

  • guy wires with bright yellow covers at bottom;
  • downed poles and power lines;
  • waterways near hydroelectric dams and generating stations.

If someone does make contact with a downed power line, either directly or through their snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle (ATV), do not touch them or any objects around them. Call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.

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Dams and generating stations

Water around our generating stations is turbulent. Strong currents, undertow, and rapidly changing water levels can quickly turn a dry riverbed into fast-moving water.

Stay a safe distance away from marked-off areas when fishing, boating, or swimming. Getting too close or ignoring warning signs can be fatal.

In winter, never snowmobile, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski, skate, or ice fish on waterways near dams and generating stations. The ice can be dangerously thin and unstable even if it appears solid.

These rules apply whether you are upstream or downstream from a hydro dam:

Safety booms mark dangerous water zones near spillway entrances.

Stay away from booms in waterways.

Enlarge image: Safety booms mark dangerous water zones near spillway entrances.

  • look for and obey all warning signs;
  • stay on clearly-marked walkways or observation points;
  • stay away from fenced-off areas such as:
    • booms (temporary floating barriers) or buoys (anchored floats) in waterways;
    • other barriers that prevent access to dangerous places.
  • listen for a generating station warning horn or siren – it means the water levels are changing so move away quickly if you are downstream.

Avoid dangerous waterway zones. Choose a generating station from the map below to see where the zones are marked. From mid-May to mid-October, the danger zone near the spillway entrance is marked by a boom (temporary floating barrier).

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This map is for general information only. It should not be used for navigation or to determine distance, direction, or hazard locations.

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Padmount transformers

A padmount transformer reduces the voltage of electricity that flows to your home. This large green metal box means there are buried electrical lines in the area. Before digging, click before you dig to locate underground lines.

Do not block the padlock side of the padmount transformer with shrubs or structures as we must be able to reach it for maintenance.

Ensure children do not use a padmount transformer as a play structure. The transformers are locked for safety and signs on the box warn of electrical danger.

People who break into a transformer can receive severe injuries or a fatal shock. If you see a padmount transformer that has been damaged or vandalized, stay clear, and call us any time at 204-480-5900 (Winnipeg) or 1-888-624-9376 (toll-free).

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Substations are part of our electrical distribution system. The high voltage electricity inside a substation can cause severe injuries or death.

Security fencing around the substation protects people and animals from high voltage contact. Vandals who open gates or cut holes in the fence can make it easier for children and animals to enter.

If you see suspicious activity around a substation, or a damaged or vandalized fence, call us any time at 204-480-5900 (Winnipeg) or 1-888-624-9376 (toll-free).

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Flight safety around power lines

Overhead power lines and structures can pose a safety risk for pilots involved in low level flying. Whether you’re involved in aerial spraying, or recreational flying, plan ahead to stay safe.

Before you fly

  • Identify where power lines or structures may pose a hazard along your flight path. Discuss power line locations with property owners.
  • Be aware that not all wires can be easily seen. Skywires run along the very top of transmission lines and can be especially hard to see.
  • Consider rescheduling your work if the forecast calls for bad weather. Poor weather conditions and flying at dawn or dusk can reduce the visibility of power lines.
  • Take precautions to reduce the risk of damage to our equipment and power lines. You or the company you fly for are financially liable for the cost of Manitoba Hydro’s repairs.

If your aircraft contacts a power line

  • Ensure your safety. Do not touch downed power lines or anything in contact with them. Touching fallen wires and these objects can have serious or fatal results.
  • Immediately cut off the fuel supply if it is safe to do so. Electrical accidents are complicated by the presence of fuel and potential for fire.
  • Assume downed wires are live even if they are not sparking.

Report any contact with power lines or structures immediately to 911 or your local emergency services.

Visit the Transport Canada website for recommended practices on flying near power lines.

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Natural gas pipelines

Landowners grant us a right-of-way (ROW) which is a strip of land that contains a pipeline. This allows us access to the pipeline for inspection, maintenance, testing, or emergencies. A ROW also identifies an area that restricts certain activities such as digging and blasting.

If you plan to excavate near a pipeline, call or click before you dig and we will mark its location. The service is free.

Operating vehicles and equipment across the Minell pipeline

Map shows the Minell pipeline location in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The Minell pipeline crosses the Saskatchewan–Manitoba border and travels up to Russell MB.

Enlarge image: Map shows the Minell pipeline location in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The Minell pipeline starts near Moosomin, SK, travels 4 km to the Saskatchewan–Manitoba border, and continues up to Russell, MB. Federally regulated, it has a 30-metre prescribed area outside of the right-of-way (ROW) that restricts some activities. This specific area starts from the pipeline’s center and expands 30 metres on each side.

Permanent pipeline markers show the approximate location of buried pipelines on roads, railways, and other intervals along the ROW. The Minell pipeline is buried at a depth to prevent damage from normal farming activities.

You may not cross the Minell pipeline in the ROW if:

  • ploughing or tilling disturbs more than 30 cm of soil;
  • the soil is rutting more than 15 cm from the equipment;
  • your activities will result in the removal of cover over the pipeline;
  • ground pressure from your vehicle wheel load is more than 100 Kpa;
  • maximum axle weight of loaded equipment on your vehicle is more than 14,500 kg.

Other pipeline areas may have different safety requirements.

You must receive consent from Manitoba Hydro before you start any construction or excavation work on or around the Minell pipeline (for example, installing field drainage, stump removal).

Learn more about working safely around the Minell pipeline or email Manitoba Hydro Natural Gas Design to request consent for a construction or excavation project.

Learn more about Minell pipeline regulations:

International power lines

International power lines are under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Energy Regulator. Learn more about international power line regulations that apply on Manitoba Hydro rights-of-way:

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