Electricity is a safe and reliable energy source when used properly. Like any other source of energy, it can be hazardous if used without caution and care.
FPUA cares about your safety and wants you to enjoy the comforts and convenience that electricity provides. We encourage you to follow these important electrical safety tips, and share them with your family and friends.
It is important to use extreme caution and stay away from overhead power lines. Electricity is always trying to go somewhere. It goes easily through materials like metal, water, trees, the ground, and things with water in them – like animals and PEOPLE.
Call us. Never touch a power line with a part of your body, or with any object – and never cross a substation fence. Never cut trees near overhead power lines until you have met with a company representative.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe:
Outdoor Electrical Box Safety
Click Here for videos made possible by members of EEC – at Safe Electricity.org
Note: Videos may contain tragic or graphic content regarding the dangers of power line exposure to humans. FPUA is not repsponsible for the content and FPUA does not distribute, manage or maintain the video content or integrity of these videos or the website content.
There are many potential dangers related to electricity in your home. Here are a few tips to help you avoid accidents and spot potential problems.
A generator can be very useful during a power outage, but remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. To protect yourself and your family or business, remember to follow these safety rules.
Standby Generator Brochure
Safety is our first concern after every storm. According to the American Red Cross, electrocutions are the second-leading cause of death during and after floods. FPUA offers the following electrical safety guidelines when coping with flooding:
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following recommendations for preparing for, and responding to, flooding:
FPUA will make reasonable efforts to maintain electric service to essential customers during emergencies – and to minimize the period of interruption. However, FPUA may have to curtail power to essential customers.
One of the most potentially hazardous situations in residential areas, industrial plants, and construction sites is accidental contact with underground electric power lines, natural gas lines, communication lines, and other utility services.
To ensure you’re working safely, call an underground line locating service. There’s no charge for the service, and the call is free. Calling before you dig can not only save you money from a damage claim, it can also save your life.
All you have to remember is 811. That’s the FCC-designated number to call before any digging project. 811 will connect you to the local One Call Center, which will notify area utilities to mark the approximate location of underground lines. Most protection services require at least a 48-hour notice; some may be longer.
Trees are part of Florida’s natural beauty, but trees and other vegetation are also one of the leading causes of outages for utilities in the Southeast.
Maintaining trees and vegetation along distribution and transmission rights of way helps reduce outages and enhances safety for customers, as well as FPUA employees and contractors. FPUA maintains a rigorous inspection process that identifies vegetation encroachments and ensures vegetation-management activities follow required pruning and clearance specifications.
We regularly use tree-trimming contractors to conduct much of our vegetation management work. These contractors are held to the same stringent requirements for safety and quality that are observed by FPUA employees and crews. We discourage customers, property owners and untrained contractors from pruning trees and plants near power lines.
Customers who have questions or concerns about vegetation maintenance can contact a FPUA customer service representative by calling 466-1600. Our customer service representatives can provide general information on vegetation and right-of-way issues, or can connect customers to a right-of-way expert.
We balance our commitment to reliable service with the health of the trees we must trim near power lines. FPUA conducts vegetation management as part of our commitment to providing our customers with safe and reliable electric service. Trees in contact with electrical conductors are often problematic. Electrical outages, momentary interruptions, electrically induced fires, personal property damage, and even personal injury are potential outcomes. As with most utilities, trees are among the leading causes of power outages on the FPUA electric system. FPUA’s electric vegetation management program is designed to minimize tree conflicts while maximizing system reliability.
In addition to making tree safety around power lines a top priority, we encourage you to follow these guidelines:
Electric service for you home and community is important. So are your trees. When we trim trees growing too near or into power lines, we prioritize both. FPUA uses qualified professional tree trimming contractors to manage the vegetation around our electrical facilities. To accomplish this, we use two types of pruning:
Cutting limbs to proper laterals helps minimize re-sprouting, which reduces the amount of re-growth into electrical facilities. Pruning to a proper lateral does not harm the tree’s natural defense systems. Instead, this helps protect the tree from decay.
Note: is not our primary intent to trim the whole tree or to trim for aesthetic purposes.
A tree that is not maintained on a routine cycle will assume its normal form, which may put it in danger of coming into contact with electrical infrastructure, resulting in the need to extensively prune or remove the tree.
FPUA’s tree trimming crews work to minimize the number of pruning cuts to a tree in order to prevent serious injury to the tree. The intent with quality vegetation management is to remove whole branches that are growing toward utility facilities. When clearance distances are specified (for example, 10 feet) the cut should be made at the next suitable lateral of parent limb beyond the specified distance.
Directional pruning (also known as natural pruning) is most effective when tree characteristics such as size, shape and expected growth rate are taken into consideration. Proper directional pruning of trees growing directly beneath facilities or beside them helps direct future tree growth away from the facilities.
Removal of overhanging vegetation may or may not be necessary, depending on the type of utility facility, tree species and other factors. Overhang is never acceptable over high-priority facilities such as high-voltage electric transmission lines.
Many palm species grow large enough to affect utility facilities. Their large fronds sway in the wind and may break free, causing damage to equipment. Palms cannot be reduced in height or directionally pruned like other trees. The best solution for palms interfering with utility facilities is removal or relocation.
Whenever you plant trees, it’s important to consider where to plant them – and to make sure you’re planting the right trees. To realize the full benefits of trees takes a communitywide effort. That’s where you come in, and we can help.
While we use pruning methods that prioritize the health of trees, you can do your part by planting trees and shrubs appropriate distances from power lines, transformers and other types of electrical equipment. Because city and county guidelines for planting vary, be sure to check those that apply to your community. To determine the location of FPUA electric and other underground utility service lines in Florida, call toll-free 811.
Better reliability through managed and well-placed vegetation means fewer power interruptions for you and your neighbors. More importantly, trees that touch power lines can create dangerous situations. In general, only licensed professionals should prune trees. That’s especially true with trees near electrical infrastructure. Our crews are just a phone call away – so let us know if you see trees growing into power lines.
Did you know that planting deciduous trees, which lose their leaves for part of the year, on the east and west sides of your home can cool it by up to 10 degrees in summer and warm it by 10 degrees in winter? Shading your air conditioning unit with trees can help it run more efficiently, reducing your electricity consumption by up to 10 percent. You can gain additional benefits by shading sidewalks, driveways and patios.
It’s important for the sake of the trees you plant, as well as the environment, to plant native trees as much as possible and to avoid planting invasive species. Native plants are better suited to local growing conditions. Invasive species, on the other hand, can grow out of control and choke out beneficial species.
Florida-friendly plants are those that, while not native to the state, grow well in the appropriate regions and zones. With the right native and Florida-friendly vegetation, you not only have species more likely to thrive, but also plants and shrubs that need less water, fertilizer and overall care.
The following non-native problem trees can cause conflicts when planted adjacent to or under overhead power lines. These trees may be prohibited in some municipalities. Any fast, tall-growing tree that could ultimately reach the power lines could cause a problem.
Consult your local nursery or landscaper for more information.
Small, immature trees planted today can grow into problem trees in the future. Selecting the right tree and planting it in the right place around power lines can eliminate potential safety hazards and improve the reliability of your electric service. In addition, your tree can achieve its proper height and form. Use the information below as a guide when planning your landscape design.
When selecting a tree or shrub to plant, it is just as important to consider what you plant as it is where you plant. The right tree or shrub, planted in the right place, can give you years of beauty and value without the potential dangers of getting too close to power lines.
To help you decide which tree or shrub is right for your yard, here are a few suggestions.
The following small-growing trees (no larger than 25 feet) are adaptable to the Carolinas and can be planted directly underneath power lines with a minimum of later pruning:
The following medium-sized trees (maturing to 25 to 40 feet) can be planted at least 20 feet from distribution power lines:
Be careful as you plan to visualize the tree at its full size. Large trees, such as oaks, often spread out considerably as they grow. Plant the saplings of large-growing species (maturing to 40 feet or more) at least 40 feet from distribution power lines to avoid future pruning problems:
Selecting and positioning shrubs is not nearly as difficult as planning for trees. In most cases, shrubs will never grow to affect power lines.
However, we need to keep as much open space as possible around pad-mounted transformers (the rectangular green boxes located near property lines). That’s why we encourage you not to plant any type of vegetation other than grass within ten feet of the opening side of the box (where the padlock is located). This open space is needed so we can get inside to perform repairs and maintenance.
Occasionally, FPUA may send employees or authorized contractors to your home to perform meter work or some other service. Please remember the following safety tips to protect yourself and your family.
FPUA makes a concentrated effort to ensure our employees stay safe. Dog bites are one of the leading causes of injury to our meter readers. That’s why we train our employees on how to prevent dog attacks.
We all love our pets and want to keep them safe, but even the nicest dogs can be aggressive when a stranger comes onto its owner’s property. You can help FPUA keep our employees – and your pet – safe by containing your dog away from the meter on reading days, or when work is scheduled on your property. To find out when your next meter reading will be, look at your bill under “Account Information.” “FPUA employees may randomly visit meters for various reasons” as Electric, Water and Gas do testing, CS requests re-reads, etc.
Thank you for helping us deliver safe, reliable energy to your home and business.
FPUA owns and operates an extensive network of electric transmission and distribution lines, as well as natural gas operations including pipelines and storage capacity. Providing safe and reliable electricity and gas requires unobstructed access for maintaining power lines, pipelines, facilities and rights of way.
Vegetation growth such as trees and overgrown shrubbery can pose a threat to FPUA equipment, as well as public safety. FPUA uses a variety of environmentally responsible and cost-effective methods to monitor and manage vegetation growth on rights of way. Managing all activities through plan reviews and encroachment removals is another way FPUA protects its right of ways and provides safe and reliable electricity and natural gas.
FPUA cares about your safety, and wants you to enjoy the comforts and convenience that natural gas provides. We encourage you to read these important gas safety tips and share them with your family and friends.
Natural gas can be a safe and reliable fuel when used properly. But, like any other source of energy, natural gas can be hazardous, and must be used and treated with care.
If you smell a gas odor, leave the premises immediately and report it.
If you smell natural gas in a localized area near a natural gas appliance, check the pilot light. Most modern automatic equipment, like water heaters and furnaces, have safety shut-offs to control the escape of natural gas if the pilot goes out. Manually controlled appliances, like a natural gas range, may have a pilot light that does not turn off but can be safely re-lit. All appliances should have a panel with the lighting instructions attached. If you can’t determine the source of a natural gas odor, and it is localized around an appliance, turn the natural gas to the appliance off at the shut-off valve and get a professional to look at the appliance.
If the source of the odor can’t be accounted for or controlled, you have an emergency. As with any emergency, stay calm. Leave the building or area and call 911.
Do not activate ignition sources.
Ignition sources can be matches or lighters, and also electrical switches. If a switch is on, leave it on; if it’s off, leave it off. Either operation can cause a spark. Keep in mind that flashlights, doorbells, and telephones can be ignition sources, too.
Don’t take chances! If you smell a natural gas odor, leave the premises immediately and go to a safer location to call 911 and the gas company.
When natural gas is burned completely, the resulting products are carbon dioxide (the same chemical that causes bubbles in a soda) and water vapor. Both products are usually harmless. Like most other fuels, the potential for carbon monoxide occurs when natural gas is burned incompletely.
Incomplete combustion can result in carbon monoxide which can be dangerous. That’s why it is important to have natural gas appliances routinely inspected and serviced to ensure proper operation, including a check of vents and flues.
Another factor that may affect the safe operation of vents and flues is the availability of make-up air. Think of your home as a box. Just like humans, appliances need fresh air. You can’t expect flue products to go “up and out the chimney” if you don’t allow air in. This principle applies to any vented device (e.g., fireplaces and exhaust fans). The flue products themselves are not a problem as long as they are replaced by fresh air.
Without adequate ventilation, complete combustion will not occur. Instead of carbon dioxide being produced, carbon monoxide will be generated-a potentially deadly situation.
Find out where to call before digging in the ground. It’s the law.
Distribution piping systems are used to deliver natural gas. When natural gas systems leak, natural gas will normally rise away from the surface and dissipate. Trouble may occur, however, if natural gas migrates under the ground and into buildings, sewers, and duct systems such as those used for underground telephone and electric lines. The majority of natural gas distribution incidents are caused by damage to natural gas lines from construction and other excavation activities. When lines are dug into they may leak with no one reporting the damage, or leak in such large quantities that an instant emergency results.
For the public’s protection, our lawmakers have made it mandatory for contractors or landowners to have underground utilities located before excavation activities can begin. Our company, and other businesses with buried investments, are working together to provide locating services to anyone planning to excavate in the vicinity of underground gas, electric, telephone or other buried utilities.
Homeowners can protect themselves and their neighbors by keeping an eye on things and by asking excavators if they have called the appropriate locating services.
Homeowners should also not forget to set a good example by calling for their own projects. A task as simple as installing a fence or planting a new tree in the middle of the yard can turn out deadly if an underground gas or electric line is hit.
It’s a free service. FPUA will send someone out to mark the underground facilities if you call two days in advance.
Call before you dig. It’s the law.