Rochester, NY – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind contractors and customers who are working on or planning outdoor projects or activities to be mindful of overhead power lines and underground utilities.

“Ladders, gutters and aluminum siding can all conduct electricity. Making contact with a power line with any of these items could be deadly,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “Digging into underground utilities could also have very serious consequences.”

NYSEG and RG&E offer these safety tips:

> Be Cautious in Work Zones
Drivers are urged to slow down and use extreme caution in NYSEG and RG&E work zones, including those areas where NYSEG and RG&E contractors are pruning trees to help ensure safe, reliable service. 

> Look Up…Look Out!
NYSEG and RG&E caution contractors and individuals to carefully check work areas for potential hazards such as overhead power lines.

> Call 811 Before You Dig
Contractors are required by law to call Dig Safely New York before beginning any excavation work, and NYSEG and RG&E strongly encourage do-it-yourselfers who are planning projects like putting up a fence, planting a tree or doing drainage work to call as well. Call Dig Safely New York (811 or 800.962.7962 ) or visit www.digsafelynewyork.com at least two full days but not more than 10 days before work is to begin.

> This Is Not Child’s Play
• Never fly kites near power lines. Electricity from a kite caught in power lines could travel down the string and endanger anyone who touches it. Don’t ever attempt to remove a kite tangled in a power line by climbing a utility pole or nearby tree.
• Keep foil or metallic balloons away from power lines and utility poles. They can cause serious damage and power interruptions.
• Never climb on an electrical tower or utility pole.
• Don’t play on or near pad-mounted transformers and never attempt to open them.

> Stay Out of Substations
Substations are dangerous. They are most often clearly marked with signs reading “DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE WITHIN” or a similar warning. Take this warning seriously and never go near or into a substation. You could be injured or killed.

If a kite, ball or flying disk should land in or near a substation or should a pet wander into a substation or climb a utility pole, call NYSEG or RG&E. We’ll gladly send a crew to get your property (or pet) – and there’s no charge.

> Water and Electricity Don’t Mix
Keep power tools and extension cords away from water – rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and garden hoses. Have a licensed electrician add weatherproof covers and GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) on outdoor electrical outlets to protect against electrical shock.

> Don’t Post Notices on Utility Poles
For the safety of NYSEG and RG&E crews who may need to climb poles, do not attach notices or other materials to utility poles. Remnants of these signs from long-forgotten activities also become eyesores and create litter.

> Trees and Power Lines
Leave the cutting and pruning of trees near power lines to professionals. A tree or limb that comes in contact with a power line could be deadly. Also, take into account overhead power lines when planting trees. (For more information on planting the right tree, visit www.arborday.org or call 888.448.7337 .)

> Be Alert for Natural Gas Leaks
If natural gas leaks from pipes or appliances it can be dangerous. A natural gas leak is usually recognized by smell, sight or sound. Smell: Natural gas is naturally odorless. For your safety, a distinctive odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added. Sight: You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason. Sound: You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling. To report a natural gas leak to NYSEG, call 800.572.1121 or 911. To report a natural gas leak to RG&E, call 800.743.1701 or 911.

For more information, visit www.nyseg.com or www.rge.com, click on “Usage and Safety” to find many valuable safety tips.