Dominion Encourages Customers to Focus on Electrical Safety During Outdoor Maintenance, Planting Projects

RICHMOND, Va., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- May is a perfect time for outdoor activities such as sprucing up yards, cleaning out gutters, painting houses and building patios and decks. It's also national electrical safety month, and Dominion Virginia Power is encouraging customers to remember how to stay safe around electricity.  

"We may not notice the electric wires, transformers and poles that are all around us, working silently and dependably day after day, but it is important to remember that electricity must be used safely and treated with the utmost caution and respect," said Rodney Blevins, vice president, electric distribution operations for Dominion Virginia Power. "We urge everyone to exercise caution around electricity and to make sure their children are cautious, too," Blevins said.

Virginia's Overhead High Voltage Line Safety Act requires that contractors who are planning to work within 10 feet of overhead high-voltage lines call Dominion toll-free at 1-866-DOM-HELP, or 1-866-366-4357 before starting work. This allows the proper safety arrangements to be put in place before the work begins.

Underground power lines are just as dangerous as those that are overhead. Call Miss Utility at least three working days in advance of your project to ensure that the underground lines are marked before you dig. In Virginia, the Miss Utility number is 811 or 1-800-552-7001. In North Carolina, it is 1-800-632-4949.

Other ways to stay safe include:

  • Be sure to look for, locate and stay away from overhead power lines before you begin overhead work such as tree trimming, painting, cleaning gutters, roofing or installing any equipment on or near the roof of your house.
  • Keep ladders and all other equipment away from power lines.
  • Read and follow all safety warnings when working with ladders.
  • Assume any power line is energized and stay away from it. Call a qualified contractor if any work must be done close to a power line.
  • Exercise caution when working around all utility electrical equipment such as utility poles, transformers and substations. Be certain to warn your children to also exercise caution.

Another important consideration for electrical safety these days is portable generator safety.  Improperly installed generators can be hazardous to homeowners and can flow power back into the de-energized power lines, endangering utility linemen who are working to restore power during outages.

Carefully follow the manufacturer's installation instructions when connecting a portable electrical generator. Dominion offers specific online safety tips on home electrical generators. If you are not sure how to do it, contact the manufacturer or call a qualified electrician.

Also make sure generators are properly ventilated and carbon monoxide fumes do not enter living spaces.

Additional home safety tips and information are available at  and at

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at

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SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power