Is it hot or is it not?
Unfortunately todays transmission and distribution professionals need more details then that.
While the primary question for a lineman on a storm recovery team may be about the presence of any voltage... as the work continues line workers on the job need a better understanding with exactly what we are dealing with.
Why lineman need to check line voltage on the job
Typical voltages for long distance transmission are in the range of 155,000 to 765,000 volts in order to reduce line losses.
Voltage of subtransmission lines is decreased to feed the majority of business, small industrial and residential customers.
The voltage of a local transmission line is 13,800 volts. This voltage is then lowered even further to between 220 and 440 volts for industrial use and from 120 to 240 volts for commercial and residential customers.
Lineman on the job have a reasonable understanding of the type of voltage they are dealing with when setting up on the job site; however it is still critical to know the exact voltage for the right equipment and hardware.
Spotlight on the Chance Proximity Voltage Indicator from Bevins
The CHANCE® Proximity Voltage Indicator (Model# PSC403737) is a portable tool used as a secondary means to confirm the condition of an A.C. (Alternating Current) high-voltage circuit after principal work procedures such as visible open gaps, dispatcher hold orders, and apparatus tag-outs have rendered the circuit de-energized.
The Proximity tester responds to the magnitude of an alternating current field gradient between its sensing element (located at the opposite end of the round Universal Coupling holder) and a counterpoise within the meter.
The tool must be used with a universal pole to maintain its calibration. Always use appropriate length stick even if wearing rubber gloves.
Check out this Voltage Indicator from Bevins
The PSC403737 is designed to determine approximate phase-to-phase voltage classes up to 500kVAC depending upon distance away from energized conductors.
This unit is a non-contact (proximity) electric field intensity meter for Voltages above 480 volts and a near-field sensing device for voltages below 480 volts.