NYSEG AND RG&E URGE CUSTOMERS TO BE SAFE DURING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Rochester, NY, March 31, 2009 – It takes only a few days of warmer weather to rouse us from winter hibernation and right away we start thinking about outdoor projects and activities. Before digging into that backlog of projects or setting out for an afternoon of kite flying with the kids, NYSEG and RG&E encourage customers to think about safety.
“Most of us are looking forward to going outside to work and play as warmer weather returns,” said Mike Conroy, vice president - operations at NYSEG and RG&E. “Please remember your surroundings and your proximity to our overhead and underground facilities so you and your family stay safe.”
NYSEG and RG&E offer these safety tips:
• Call Before You Dig – Contactors and homeowners doing outdoor projects that involve excavation should have underground utilities marked. It’s as simple as calling 811 or Dig Safely New York (1.800.962.7962) at least two business days but not more than 10 days
before a project is scheduled to begin.
• Look Up...Look Out! – When working outside, remember to watch for overhead power lines. If a ladder, gutter, roofing materials or anything else touches an overhead power line, the results could be deadly.
• Downed Power Lines – Spring and summer weather can cause power interruptions and downed power lines. Stay far away from downed lines and keep others away – remember: even lines that appear “dead” can be deadly. Also, never attempt to remove tree debris when downed power lines may be entangled in the debris. To report power interruptions and other hazardous situations, NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.1701.
• How to Detect Natural Gas Leaks – Natural gas is colorless and odorless. To help readily detect leaks, a distinctive, pungent odor similar to rotten eggs is added to natural gas. In addition to the odor, other signs of natural gas leaks can include an unusual hissing or blowing noise, dirt being blown into the air for no apparent reason, white fog or bubbling water near a natural gas pipeline or dead vegetation in an otherwise green area. In the event of an indoor natural gas leak, get up, get out and call your natural gas company from a safe location. To report natural gas emergencies – indoors or out – NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1121; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.1702.
Other springtime safety precautions:
• Water and electricity are a potentially deadly combination. Keep power tools, vacuum cleaners and other electrically-powered equipment out of the rain and away from wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and garden hoses.
• Stay out of flooded basements where energized wiring or outlets and natural gas below the water line may pose a hazard. Contact your utility companies to have electricity and natural gas shut off if a structure is flooded or flooding is imminent.
• Be sure outdoor electrical outlets have weatherproof covers and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against electrical shock. (Electrical work is best left to a licensed electrician.)
• Leave cutting and trimming of trees near power lines to professionals. A tree or limb that comes in contact with a power line could be deadly.
• Remind children not to fly kites or climb trees near power lines. Also remind them not to play around substations or pad-mounted transformers. (These are transformers for underground electric distribution systems; the green metal boxes are generally on concrete or fiberglass pads on the ground.) If something ends up inside a substation fence (a Frisbee or ball) do not try to retrieve it; instead, contact us and we will retrieve it for you.
• For the safety of our employees who may have to climb a utility pole during an emergency, please do not attach notices or other materials to poles.
For more information on using energy safely, visit nyseg.com or rge.com, and then click on the “Usage and Safety” tab.
About NYSEG and RG&E: NYSEG and RG&E are subsidiaries of Energy East Corporation, a super-regional energy services and delivery company in the Northeast. NYSEG serves 872,000 electricity customers and 256,000 natural gas customers across more than 40% of upstate New York. RG&E serves 360,000 electricity customers and 297,000 natural gas customers in a nine-county region centered on the City of Rochester. By providing outstanding customer service and meeting customers’ energy requirements in an environmentally-responsible manner, NYSEG and RG&E will continue to be valuable assets to the communities they serve. For more information, visit nyseg.com and rge.com.