NYSEG and RG&E Offer Holiday Safety and Efficiency Tips

Companies urge customers to check Carbon Monoxide detectors to ensure working order  

BINGHAMTON, NY — December 21, 2022 — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) wish customers a happy holiday season. An essential element to this and any time of year is ensuring that safety is always a consideration. The Companies offer the following reminders to our customers.

Carbon Monoxide safety

A colorless and odorless gas, carbon monoxide is found in combustion byproducts such as those produced by small gasoline engines, generators, or by burning charcoal, coal, oil, wood, propane, or natural gas. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur within a matter of minutes. Customers who suspect a carbon monoxide problem should immediately exit the premises and call the utility or 911. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include flu-like symptoms, headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and loss of muscle control. 

The easiest way to prevent becoming a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning is early detection – installing detectors in your home. State law requires that all New York State residences have carbon monoxide detectors installed. The companies also urge customers to check and replace the battery on a regular schedule, and to also have their home heating system, water heater, and any other coal, oil, wood, propane, or natural gas burning appliance inspected and maintained annually by a professional. They offer the following additional tips:

  • Report Emergencies: Call NYSEG at 800.572.1121 or RG&E at 800.743.1702 to report gas leaks, odors, or emergencies. If you suspect a leak, get up and get out, leave the building, and call from a safe place. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of your home, including outside all sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year, when you change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
  • Appliances: Never use your stove or oven to stay warm. Only space heaters intended for indoor use should be operated indoors or in enclosed spaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Home Generators: When operated improperly, portable generators can also cause carbon monoxide problems. Those looking to operate portable generators should operate them outdoors in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area, and never indoors or in a garage. They should also make sure exhaust gases are safely vented away from the house, windows, or other enclosed areas. Generators that plug into a home’s electrical system should be installed by a licensed electrician via a transfer switch.

Electrical Safety

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International and other industry groups, fires and injury-causing incidents increase during the holiday season as people decorate their homes, light their hearths, and assemble feasts for family and friends. The companies also want to remind customers about winter energy efficiency tips for the holiday season into the new year.

The companies offer customers the following tips:

  • Decking the Halls: Dry tree limbs and electric lighting can be a dangerous combination. Keep your live tree fresh and cut its base at a 45-degree angle before you put it in its base, so it can absorb more water. Water it daily and remove it promptly after the holiday, or when it becomes dry.
    • Consider LED decorative lights, which produce less heat and use less energy than traditional lights. The cooler-burning LEDs can reduce the drying effect on the tree. You can find LED lights and other energy efficient appliances at nysegsmartsolutions.com or rgesmartsolutions.com.
    • Carefully inspect cords, plugs, and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items. Look for the UL label on the packaging, showing that they’ve been factory tested.
    • Push wires toward the center of the tree, out of reach of children and pets, and clip them securely to the branches.
    • Keep flammable decorations away from the tree's lights. Also make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
    • Run cords away from high-traffic areas to prevent tripping hazards. Never run cords under rugs since they can overheat.
    • Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees that are not flame-resistant.
    • Turn off decorative lights before going to sleep and when you leave home. Consider using a programmable timer to control displays.
    • Avoid overloading electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the instructions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and can cause an electrical fire.
  • Around the House: Plan escape routes for your family in case of a fire or other emergency.
    • In the kitchen, keep close watch on your stovetop, grill, and oven while in use. Never use them for heating.
    • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Install a carbon monoxide detector outside every sleeping area. Test monthly and replace batteries twice a year when you reset your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
    • If you use natural gas, learn the signs of a leak and what to do by visiting nyseg.com or rge.com. Call NYSEG at 800.572.1121 or RG&E at 800.743.1702 to report gas leaks, odors or emergencies. If you suspect a leak, get up and get out, leave the building and call from a safe place. If there’s an immediate danger, call 911.
  • Outdoors: Before decorating outside your home, look up and around the area to identify overhead lines and other hazards. Keep yourself, ladders and tools far away from overhead lines, as well as anything that might be in contact with them.
    • Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures and inspect them for damage.
    • Avoid piling leaves, snow or yard debris against utility meters or furnace vents, to ensure they operate properly and can be easily accessed.

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