Electricity.Look around your home -- it's everywhere. It
provides you with heat, light and power. But how does it work and
where does it come from?
Power plants create and produce energy using huge machines
called generators. Electricity travels to substation transformers,
which reduce the voltage for distribution to neighborhoods.
Finally, pole transformers near your home reduce the voltage again
to allow safe use in your home.
As appliances use energy, the electricity is drawn from the
wires through the meter and then into the circuit in your home.
Electricity is the power that makes modern life convenient. It
is also very dangerous if you don't use it in the right way. That's
why you need to do the safe thing whenever you use electricity.
Putting in a plug for safe outlets
Nobody overloads a circuit on purpose--it just kind of sneaks up
on you. Then one day you've got a dangerous octopus in the room and
you don't even know it. It's a potentially hazardous situation with
a simple fix. Call an electrician to install more outlets, making
the room safe and usable for modern families.
Be sure that wall outlets are in good repair. Plugs should fit
securely into outlets. A loose-fitting wall outlet could cause
overheating and possilby cause a fire. Call an electrician to
inspect suspicious outlets.
Back to top
Take a minute to check your electrical cords
Cords should be in good condition -- not frayed or cracked --
especially if you have pets. Electrical cords are covered with a
special insulation made of nonconducting materials. If you plug in
a damaged cord, it could give you a painful shock or worse.
Never use extension cords as permanent household wiring. Check
extension cords frequently to make sure they are not overheating.
Never nail or staple cords to walls. And never run cords under rugs
-- this creates a fire hazard in your home.
Make sure to use the proper type of plug in each outlet. If you
are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-prong outlets, never
cut off the ground third pin or try to force a plug into an outlet.
This could lead to an electrical shock hazard.
Safety from the ground up
The nature of electricity is to find the easiest path to ground.
See that fat, round third prong? It automatically makes an easier
path to ground and prevents accidents. Never disable safety by
cutting off the third prong.
Most modern appliances come with grounding plugs. Use them in
three-prong outlets, especially around areas where moisture builds
up, like cellars, garages and outdoors. Expensive electronics also
need a three-prong outlet to protect them from power surges.
Every ten years, renew this inexpensive insurance...
One of the most crucial home safety devices is almost impossible
to find. It doesn't move. It doesn't stand out. In fact, it doesn't
do anything until there's a problem, one that's usually far, far
away from your house.
This safety device is the electrical grounding wire. It
prevents shock, fire and damage during a major power surge, such as
a lightning strike on a substation.
Grounding wires run from your meter to underground rods or to
copper water pipes. Grounding wires can become corroded or damaged.
As your yard settles, your lawn mower may have hit a grounding
connec- tion without your even knowing it.
Grounding wires are inexpensive to replace. If your home is
over ten years old, call an electrician to have your grounding wire
checked or replaced.
Water and electricity never mix
Be sure to check that Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
are installed in your kitchen and bathroom outlets.
In compliance with the National Electric Code, GFCI outlets must
be installed in any area where electricity and water may come into
contact (such as basements, garages, outdoors). In case of an
accident, the GFCI can cut off the power source in less than a
second, preventing electrocution. Call an electrician to properly
install GFCI outlets in your home.
One of the most accident-prone areas of your home is actually
outside your house. Working outside can be safe when you take the
It is important to use heavy-duty cords marked "For Outdoor
Use." Be sure the amperage rating for extension cords is higher
than the amperage rating for the tool. Check labels and owner's
manuals for amperage ratings. Never use indoor equipment or
extension cords outside.
When using outdoor equipment or power tools, use a three-prong
plug. Convert all two-prong outlets by using a three-prong adapter
with a ground tab.
Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters installed in outdoor
outlets and inside garages. They are the best protection between
you and your power tool in the event of a mishap or contact with
Bangor Hydro recommends leaving a 36" cleared area around your
meter. Consider this when planting shrubbery, stacking firewood or
installing a propane tank. Keeping this clear ensures the safety of
Bangor Hydro Electric employees.
Electricity always seeks the easiest path to the ground. Be
exceptionally careful when moving ladders and overhead equipment
Boaters can do the safe thing
Ensure your safety by adding an electrical check to your list of
Stepping your mast or sailing anywhere near an overhead power
line is dangerous. Take time to survey your marina and/or favorite
launching area. Note any overhead wires and share the information
with others. Make a habit of looking up to check for lines before
moving or rigging your vessel.Check navigation charts for the
location of submarine cables. Don't take the chance of disturbing
these cables by anchoring your boat near them.
Teach kids to do the safe thing
Education is the best defense to preventing electrical accidents
with children. Teach children to recognize "Danger - High Voltage"
signs and to stay away from power lines, substations and pole
transformers. Never let children play near substations or climb
trees near power lines.
Electricity can travel the string of a kite or balloon that
contacts power lines, causing shock. Instruct children to play with
these toys in open areas away from power lines. And keep metallic
balloons inside. They are highly conductive.
Teach children never to put fingers or objects into an
electrical outlet, toaster or any other appliance, even if it's
off. Keep appliances away from children, bathtubs and sinks. Keep
plug covers in all unused outlets.
Take responsibility for teaching your children about electrical
Overhanging branches can be a problem down the line
Bangor Hydro maintains line safety. Working on our regular
seven-year rotating tree maintenance schedule, Bangor Hydro trims
interfering tree limbs. Bangor Hydro will also trim interfering
limbs along the line from our pole to your home. If you believe you
have interfering branches within two feet of a wire, call Bangor
Hydro for an inspection.
In a storm, a large tree branch could leave you in the dark.
Sometimes a falling branch will break the line, causing it to
dangle or fall to the ground. Never attempt to touch these lines.
These "live" lines carry high voltage, and contact could lead to an
electrical shock or fatality. Immediately report damaged or broken
lines to Bangor Hydro at 1-800-440-1111.
Don't get caught in the dark!
Plan ahead for storms and power outages. Keep flashlights with
fresh batteries and a battery-powered radio handy. Don't forget to
unplug major appliances, including computer equipment. When the
power returns, electrical appliances need protection from surging
Store a good supply of clean water and use it sparingly. Fill
pails and bathtubs for uses such as flushing the toilet.
Stock your home with nonperishable foods that require little or
no cooking. Remember it is never safe to use grills or camp stoves
inside your house.
In the event of an outage in your home, check the neighborhood
to see if all the homes are without lights or if it is just your
home. If you see a downed power line, stay away. Don't touch it.
Call Bangor Hydro immediately at 1-800-440-1111 to report downed
lines or other power emergencies and wait for utility workers to
Please understand that in a widespread outage it is impossible
for us to get to everyone at once. A lot of people are working hard
to restore power. They give first priority to hospitals, nursing
homes, police, fire and other vital services. Stay tuned to an
"Outage Alert" radio station for power restoration and safety
updates. If you depend on life-support equipment, call
1-800-499-6600 before the storm arrives.
Generators can be a safe option during power outages
An alternative source of power such as a generator should be
installed by an electrician. Make sure the generator has a properly
installed double-throw switch that keeps the generator isolated
from the utility lines at all times. This protects your home as
well as line workers.