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Why Power Transmission Cables & Lines are Loose on Electric Poles & Transmission Towers?


Transportation of people, goods and services today is no longer a problem as technology is fast growing. Distance is neither a barrier nor a problem. Just as people, goods and services are easily transported across a distant destination, ELECTRICITY is no different. Electricity can be transported over a long distance. But unlike goods, electricity requires a medium through which it is transported. Often times you will notice that the power transmission cables hanging on electric poles are loose. You might have thought “why weren’t the cables fastened tight to the poles?”Let’s find out why the cables are loose on electric poles but before then let’s take a pip at some important tips that would help us understand better.Why Power Transmission Cables & Lines are Loose on Electric Poles & Transmission Towers?


Power is the rate at which work is done. Work is done when electrical energy is covers a distance. By that we can say that power is energy delivered per unit time. Electricity can be transported over a long distance via cables which serve as a medium of transporting the electricity. Power is measured in watts. When transmitting power, high-voltage transmission is preferred so as to save energy. Electric current causes the dissipation of heat and this heat is really not good as it causes the electric cables to wear out and cut that is why in order to save the transmitted power, electric current which causes heat and eventually wearing out of cables must be transported in a small quantity while the voltage in large quantity hence the name High-Voltage power transmission.


During power transmission, electrical power is licked to our surrounding as the transmission cables are not insulated. According to Ohm’s law, Resistance R varies directly with the length of the conductor L, meaning that as the length of the conductor increases, its resistance increases. Air is not a good conductor and as such it cannot conduct away the heat dissipated by the electric cables, which is why the electric cables are engineered in such a way that it offers little or no resistance to the flow of electric current by increasing the diameter of the conductor. Resistance R varies inversely to the area of the conductor – the bigger the diameter of the conductor, the less the resistance and vice versa.


Electric cables are conductors mostly copper wires through which electricity is transmitted. The cables however are not purely copper. In order for the cables to have some mechanical properties, the conductors are alloyed. The conductivity of the conductor is not affected by the other element with which it was combined. The other element gives the copper a mechanical property without affecting its conductivity.


There is nothing as a pure metal. The degree of purity of any metal is never 100% pure and as such they have internal resistance. Energy expended or heat generated when current flows through the conductor is given by;
P = VIt
P = I2Rt.

Other forms of Joule’s Law
P = I2Rt
P = VIt … (R = V/I)
P = Wt … (P = W = VI)
P = V2t/R …. (I = V/R )   using simple Ohm’s Law

As can be seen from the equation above, Heat (P) generated by the moving electrons is proportional to R, t, I^2.When an electric current flows through a conductor, electric current is being dissipated to the surrounding in form of heat when overcoming resistance which serve as a barrier to the drifting electrons.


The resistance of a conductor increases with increase in temperature. This is because, as the temperature of the conductor increases, the electrons embedded in the conductor gain more energy and moves randomly thereby colliding with the other atoms which will later lead to heat as a byproduct. The heat produced by the conductor when intense can lead to the melting of the conductor itself. When the weather is hot, the cables tend to be more loose as the conductor will expand but when cold, the cable will contract.


Tension a force that exist in a string that is under the action of two forces in opposite direction. Thus a cable hanging on a pole is under tension and would be under more tension if the cables are to made tight which would make the cables to cut easily when little contraction or expansion occurs.

Why Power Transmission Cables & Lines are Loose on Electric Poles & Transmission Towers?

During transmission of electricity, heat is being dissipated. The heat generated by cables is being minimized via high voltage transmission. The effect of weather and the internal temperature of the cable make it necessary to let the cables a little bit loose.

If the cables were made tight and the weather gets cold, it would cause the transmitting cables to contract thereby creating more tension in the cables which might cause it to cut. So, the cables are loose so that even if contraction should occur, there won’t be much tension which would lead to the damage of the cables.

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One comment

  1. Wole Ogunndele

    1.Another effect is the incompetencies displayed by some utility technicians,wherein the use oftheir hands when insulated gloves are worn to tighten wires directed from homes to poles
    2.Inappropriate spacing of electric poles partly allows electric cables bending towards falling off their erection
    3.Not using high standard genuine cables plunging reoccurence as overload on transformers and frequent joiints on cables

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