Disclaimer: This electrical safety information is being offered to raise awareness of electrical hazards, proper steps to take when using electrical equipment and doing work around electrical equipment, and ways to prevent electrical accidents. It is intended to be a general summary for public use. Under no circumstances will NBU be liable in any way for any content, including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in any content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of any content made available via this webpage. Use of information from this webpage is voluntary and should be used in conjunction with specific expert advice and professional assistance.
Reference in videos to any specific product, process, manufacturer, or company is not an endorsement or recommendation by NBU. When viewing videos, your browser may also produce pop-up advertisements. These advertisements were most likely produced by other websites you visited or third-party software on your computer. NBU does not endorse or recommend products or services for which you may see a pop-up advertisement while visiting this site.
Importance of Electrical Safety
Safe practices around electricity can be lifesaving. Electricity can cause injury or death in addition to serious damage to wiring. Remember that when it comes to electricity, very rarely would you be able to see, hear, or smell it; and you definitely do not want to touch or taste it.
Downed Power Lines
Downed power lines and anything they come in contact with, such as trees, fences, or vehicles, pose an extreme safety risk. Even if the power line is not sparking, it still poses a threat. Avoid coming into contact with these dangerous areas. The minimum safe distance from a downed power line or anything it could be charging is 35-feet.
Trees and vines that come in contact with utility lines can become charged and start electrical fires or cause downed power lines. Trimming trees near electric lines can be dangerous and should only be done by trained professionals. To maintain reliable electric service and prevent fires, NBU prunes areas within easements that pose a threat to the electric lines.
Before You Dig
Before starting an outdoor project that will require digging, it is important to know what is below the ground. Hitting utility lines can be a disruptive and dangerous situation. Businesses looking to break ground run an even higher risk of hitting utility lines. The Texas One-Call Law requires anyone who is planning to dig deeper than 16 inches with mechanical equipment to call Texas811 or visit the online portal to schedule an assessment at least two business days in advance.
Some customers may wish to utilize an emergency generator to supply a portion or all of their electric service in the event of a power failure. Connecting a generator into your home requires proper installation through the Back-Up Generator Connection Procedure to prevent severe damage and injury. It is crucial to never use a generator indoors as it can be the cause of accidental fires, electric shock, and deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
Generators can feed backward through utility meters and transformers, creating a dangerous high-voltage condition on nearby primary distribution lines. Utility line workers may be in the process of repairing a line from an outage or assessing the damage when the backfeed could energize the lines and cause electrocution.
Connecting a generator to an energized utility source will almost certainly result in serious injury and/or catastrophic damage to the generator.
Generators powered by internal combustion engines produce dangerous exhaust gasses and should only be operated in well-ventilated outdoor areas. Keep in mind that generator exhaust can enter your home through open doors, windows, or poorly sealed areas.
Connecting a generator to your home and turning off the main breaker is dangerous and prohibited by National Electrical Code Sections 700.6 and 702.6.
New Braunfels Utilities’ distribution feeders will automatically reclose multiple times when attempting to restore temporary outages. We recommend that automatic standby systems be configured to wait at least 60 seconds before transferring to standby power.
Appliances are not connected directly to power lines and can be safely connected to a generator. When used for this purpose, be sure to follow the instructions specific to your generator.
Kids Electric Safety
Electricity does not discriminate and does not care how old its victims are. Ensuring children understand the importance of safe habits around electricity is necessary and can be made fun with activity pages.
- Ensure all electric cords are safely tucked away.
- Supervise young children when using electric items.
- Use outlet plug covers in wall plugs.
- Keep all electric items away from water.
- Keep kites, balloons, and other tall objects away from electric lines.
- Padmount transformers are not meant for touching, climbing, or playing. These big green boxes carry high voltages that can lead to serious injury or death if they are damaged in any way.
- Ensure when hanging swings from trees that they are not near electric lines. Even if the limbs are not touching the lines with the swing, the weight of a person can shift the limbs to come in contact with lines and energize the limb and swing.
- Avoid swimming in pools and other water sources during lightning storms.