Safety is an important concern — not just for utility workers, but for member-owners who use those utilities as well. At PIE&G we are continuously working to foster an innovative, safe work environment, and to make sure your homes and business are safe also.
When accidents happen, it is important for you as an electric and/or gas service recipient to know what to do. You will find guidelines and tips for the most common safety concerns here on our webpage. And of course, you can always call a Member Service Representative at 1-800-423-6634 with any questions.
Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. Your electric cooperative wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.
Keep a safe distance
Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.
Always remember to:
- Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
- Don’t climb trees near power lines.
- Never fly kits, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
- If you get something stuck in a power line, call your electric co-op to get it.
- Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
- Never touch or go near a downed power line.
- Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
- Keep children and pets away.
Power Line Hazards and Cars
If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local cooperative and emergency services.
The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.
As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call your electric utility company’s Service Center/Dispatch Office.
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
To report an outage, call PIE&G at 1-800-423-6634.
If your lights go off during a storm, be prepared for the power outage. Assemble supplies to have on hand rather than rushing around when the storm is coming and waiting in long lines fo rmilk or bread. Rotate your supplies to keep them fresh and use the following checklist to prepare for power outages:
Have Plenty of Food
- Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
- Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
- Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
Stay In Touch
- Have a portable,battery-powered radio and alarm clock.
- Have one non-portable phone that will work even if power is interrupted.
- Plan where to meet and how to communicate with family members if separated.
Keep essential family member contact information near your phone, in your wallet, and in your glove compartment.
Keep Things Going
- Keep plenty of gas in your car.
- Keep extra batteries, matches, propane, charcoal and firewood.
Stay Happy, Healthy and Warm
- Coordinate with neighbors for care of the elderly and disabled living alone.
- Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
- Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time. If you have a video camera and tapes, your family can make a storm documentary.
- Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished. Premoistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water.
- Use plastic trash bags and ties for garbage.
- Put first-aid kits in your home and car.
- Make sure you have cold weather clothing, foul weather gear, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Consider purchasing alternative UL-approved heating devices. For example, a fireplace insert or woodstove will keep the heat in your home instead of up the chimney.
- Use flashlights and other battery-operated lighting instead of candles.
- Keep fire extinguishers fully charged.
- Fill your bathtub with water for bathroom use before the storm (if you have a well).
Trees help protect our homes from elements, help beautify our areas, clean our air, and bring color to our lives. But trees can also be dangerous. During a storm any tree, even healthy ones, have potential to fall and cause damage to personal property and power lines. Trees near power lines can also become a direct pathway to injury. If a power line comes into contact with a tree, there is potential for someone to be seriously injured.
The purpose of PIE&G’s right of way clearing program is to help us provide you with safe and continuous electrical service. Trimming or removal of tree branches by the cooperative does occur on a regular basis. These tasks are done to help us accomplish our goal, by alleviating potential safety hazards and power interruptions.
In order to do this we need to keep our right of ways cleared to their maximum width. The widths of our right of ways do vary, with the maximum width being 40 feet (which is broken up into 20 feet on either side of the pole.) Also to help keep out right of way clear, we ask that you do not plant any new trees with in the power line right of way. The trees may appear small now, however, in a few years these trees will be large enough to cause problems.
In many cases trimmed trees do not look as natural and/or as beautiful as we would like them to be. If possible some concessions may be made in yard areas. However, we must keep safety in mind and sometimes we have no choice but to trim them.
If you are planning on removing trees that are close to our primary overhead power line, please contact our office and we will assist you. When clearing trees by your service drop (the wires from the primary line to your electrical meter at your dwelling), contact our office to temporarily disconnect and lower your drop. This service is provided free of charge and allows our members to safely remove trees.
To review EPA recommendations for Recycling and Disposal of CFL’s please click here.
Get help right away. Unplug the faulty appliance or turn off the power, if possible.
NEVER PUT WATER ON AN ELECTRICAL FIRE!
Electrical Safety and Generators
CAUTION!!! If standby generators are being used, or the purchase of one is anticipated, be sure the unit is properly installed by a licensed electrician and approved by the local electrical inspector.
If the standby unit is to be wired through the fuse box or breaker panel, it must be isolated from the Co-op’s service system, by means of an approved disconnect switch.
Improper use of a standby generator could cause dangerous backfeed on the Co-op’s system and could cause death or injury to our linemen, working to restore power, or other individuals that may come in contact with a downed power line.
Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the “off” position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
Effects of Backfeed
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.
Other Generator Hazards
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas.
Before You Dig, contact MISS DIG – 1-800-482-7171 or dial 811
MISS DIG is a convenient method of notification for anyone who plans to excavate, tunnel, drill, bore, or discharge explosives. Under Michigan’s law and Federal regulations, it is your responsiblity to notify utilities prior to any planned excavation.
PIEG has underground and overhead electric lines, as well as an underground natural gas distribution system. You must call MISS DIG three (3) working days before you dig.
We will identify our underground facilities using red flags for electric and yellow flags for natural gas.
When planning work that could involve equipment coming in contact with overhead electric lines, protective measures must be taken. This is to maintain clearance between wires and equipment per State and Federal safety standards. The distances can vary between 10′ and 33′. If you are in doubt, call MISS DIG. PIEG will dispatch a representative to meet you at the location specified. The PIEG representative will check the electric lines in the vicinity of your work and advise you of the voltages involved and distance required.
Failure to contact MISS DIG may result in you being liable for damages to PIEG facilities.