Energy Safety in Practice
You can be assured that LP&L is always striving to keep the workplace safe for our employees, our customers and all Lubbock citizens.
Just as LP&L employees take every precaution to stay safe, we ask our customers to take the following precautionary steps to stay safe:
The meter is the property of the electric utility. Just touching an energized meter could cause serious injury or death. Meter tampering also constitutes a state felony, which could result in criminal sanctions, including fines and / or imprisonment. If you suspect a problem with your meter, call the LP&L Customer Service (806-775-2509) for assistance. Safety saves lives.
During storms and other severe weather, downed power lines can create hazards. Always treat a downed power line as if it were energized and remember that any contact with a power line is potentially lethal. Downed power lines are dangerous because they carry an electric current that can instantly cause injury or possibly death. Sometimes even a telephone line can be energized. For example, following a storm you notice a downed telephone line in your yard. While the telephone line typically is not energized, if it is touching a power line it could be extremely dangerous. Be aware of all downed lines and immediately report the problem to LP&L at 806-775-2509 and call 911. If you are in a vehicle that comes in contact with a downed power line, stay put and if you can, honk your horn and lower your window to alert passers-by. Caution them to stay away from the vehicle and ask them to call LP&L and emergency officials to report the problem. If you must leave the vehicle, remove all loose items such as bags and loose clothing, etc. Jump clear and avoid touching the car and the ground at the same time. Land with both feet together and move away from the car.
Prior to landscaping and during your planning, if you in anyway are digging in a public right-of-way or think there maybe buried electrical lines, please call Texas One Call at (800) 245-4545 at least 48 hours prior to digging, so any lines can be located. Landscaping and tree planting can enhance the beauty and enjoyment of your property, but be sure to consider the proper placement of trees and shrubs. LP&L suggests inspecting the planting area and then selecting low-growing trees or shrubs that will not touch overhead power lines. Today's sapling could cause an electrical hazard a few years from now. And don't forget about underground power lines. Use the underground cable locater service to have the placement of underground lines determined before you begin your landscaping project. When planting near a transformer, maintain a distance of 10 feet from any side with an opening and three feet from other sides. Electrical workers need space to safely open the transformer when working on underground power lines. If landscaping is placed too close to the transformer, service restoration efforts can be delayed. In addition, workers must sometimes cut down the plantings to perform the restoration work. LP&L is not responsible for replacing landscaping in the right-of-way that workers remove to ensure safety or perform service restoration.
If you've ever touched a hot light bulb, you know how hot it can get— up to 300 degrees for a 100-watt bulb. So, keep anything that could burn away from light bulbs, portable heaters or toasters. Turn off heating and cooking appliances before leaving home. Don't overload outlets. If you must use an extension cord temporarily, match the amperage or wattage limits marked on the cord and appliance to avoid a fire hazard.
Have you wondered about the strange-looking plug on your new hair dryer, or outlet in the kitchen or bathroom of your home? It's a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), a safety device designed to improve safety when electricity is used in and around wet places. The GFCI monitors the flow of electric current. If an imbalance in the flow occurs, the GFCI will stop the current to avoid danger. GFCIs are required in the bathrooms, kitchens and garages of new homes, as well as on some basement and outdoor outlets. Many new small appliances also feature GFCIs. If your home is not equipped with GFCIs, they can be added as temporary plug-in adapters.
Extension cords can be a big help. But if not used properly, they can lead to fires. Consider the following when you use an extension cord:
- Use extension cords only as a temporary connection.
- Check the cord's amperage rating (indicated as "A" or "amps") and make sure that the total rating of appliances plugged into the cord is not more than the cord can safely carry.
- Use a heavy-duty, grounded, three-wire cord for power tools.
- Use cords that are approved by Underwriters Laboratory and carry the UL trademark.
- Discard cords that are frayed, have cracked insulation or damaged plugs.
- Grasp the plug — not the cord — to remove extension cords from outlets.
If you heat your home with an electric space heater, remember to keep anything that is flammable away from the heater, including curtains. Be certain that your space heater is UL-approved and plugged into an outlet that is not overloaded with other appliances.
Standby generators can come in handy during storm-related outages. However, be sure that your generator is installed by a qualified electrician so the generator's circuits and LP&L's circuits are not connected - in other words, they must be" isolated." If they're not properly isolated, customer-generated power can flow back to the power line, electrocuting an LP&L worker attempting to restore power. Conversely, if the circuits are not properly isolated, power distributed from LP&L can lead to overheating the generator. This could cause an electrical fire at your home. The most common isolation method is to install a double-throw double-pole transfer switch. Portable generators that are not properly isolated could lead to the same hazards. To properly isolate portable generators, customers should be careful that they never connect the generator to an electrical outlet. Instead, appliances should be connected directly to the generator. The easiest way to use a generator is to simply plug the equipment to be operated directly into the proper outlet on the generator. Never connect the generator's electrical output to any live home or building electrical circuits. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet. Also:
- Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive area.
- Consult a licensed electrician to choose a generator and make certain it meets national and local electrical code requirements.
LP&L reminds you to use caution when using a ladder near power lines. Please practice safety when planning repairs, remodeling or maintenance work around the house. Keep the ladders and tools at least ten feet from power lines. Allow a greater clearance around high-voltage lines. Use a clean, dry wood or fiberglass ladder near electric lines. Do not use a metal ladder near electrical lines. When installing or removing an antenna, make sure it is at least one-and-one half times its total height away from any power lines. If the antenna starts to fall, let it go and stay clear. Overhead power lines are not insulated. What may look like insulation is merely weatherproofing material. Under no circumstances should power lines be touched.
Cleaning the gutters on your home this fall? Be careful! Remember to keep ladders, tools, equipment and yourself a minimum of 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Looks can be deceiving. Over-head power lines are not insulated. What may appear to be insulation is weatherproofing material. Wires should never be contacted or touched under ANY circumstances. As an extra safety measure, plan your maintenance work when someone else is at home, or let a neighbor know your plans.
Keep your holidays happy by observing these simple safety precautions:
- Before stringing outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Don't place yourself or any other object in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line, the result may be fatal.
- Look up before raising ladders or other objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines.
- Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of the house are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors.
- Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure the tree limbs haven't grown near power lines. Branches, an entire tree, and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines.
- Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires. Discard damaged sets of lights.
- Route cords inside your home so that they won't trip anyone. Don't place them under rugs, furniture, or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed and cause a fire.
- Follow the manufacturer's limits for the number of light strings that you can safely connect together.
- Always turn off tree and decorative lights indoor and outdoors when leaving the house and before going to bed.
- Do not place your tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.
- Install LED holiday lights. Most LED lights are shatter proof and shock resistant. Because LED lights produce almost no heat, they are safer to touch and greatly reduce the risk of fire. LED lights are also more energy efficient and most can last up to 20 holiday seasons.
- Use only UL-approved (Underwriters Laboratory) lights and extension cords. Avoid overloading electrical circuits. Connect lights to power strips that have several outlets and a built-in circuit breaker.
- Remind children never to touch lights or plugs with wet hands.
When spring weather arrives, kids love to fly their kites. Teach children the important rules for safe kite flying. Always fly your kite in an open field away from electrical power lines. If the kite becomes tangled in a power line or any electrical equipment, just let it go. Never try to retrieve a kite. Do not touch the tail, string, or any part of the kite. Report the incident to LP&L 806-775-2509 and 911 immediately.
Our practice is to read your meter each month, so that you are billed for the actual amount of electricity you use from one billing period to the next. However when a LP&L meter reader surprises a territorial dog, the outcome can be a safety hazard. Help minimize safety hazards by securing your pets on the date your meter is read. Contact LP&L Customer Service at (806) 775-2509 for your meter reading date.
Before you dig or excavate, contact the Texas 8-1-1 One-Call Center by simply dialing 811 from anywhere in the United States. Please call before you start your project, whether landscaping, building fences or performing a major construction project. LP&L and other utilities will mark the location of utility lines at no cost to you. One simple call can help keep you out of harm’s way.