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Posted on December 5, 2012

Dangers of Downed Power Lines Stressed in New Campaign as Storm Season Begins

By Tracy Correa

With the arrival of winter storm season, PG&E is reminding the public to be aware about the dangers of downed power lines.

PG&E is committed to public safety and wants to educate people about the risks posed by downed power lines. Downed power lines are extremely dangerous and are more likely to occur with winter storms.

The public is advised to:

  • Treat all downed power lines as if they are “live” or energized.
  • Keep yourself and others away from downed lines.
  • Call 911 immediately to report the location of the downed line, then notify PG&E’s 24-hour emergency and customer service line at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Keep away from flooded areas and downed trees, as these areas could be hiding an energized power line.

As part of the education effort, PG&E recently launched an advertising campaign that will continue over the next few months.

PG&E's new campaign uses radio spots, billboards, digital ads and other chanels to warn customers about the danger of downed power lines.

The campaign launched just before Thanksgiving with radio messages about the dangers of downed power lines. This month, it will add online digital banners on weather sites and PG&E’s social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Early in 2013, billboards will feature reminders to “Stay Away” from downed power lines. And, the campaign also will include print advertisements in English, Spanish and Asian-language newspapers.

Manho Yeung, senior director of utility operations with oversight of system planning and reliability, said PG&E has a duty to ensure the public is safe and reminders about the dangers of downed power lines — although obvious to most — are sometimes necessary.

“It’s a critical issue. We’re about system safety and the safety of our customers,” Yeung said.

PG&E’s electrical systems are everywhere throughout its 70,000-square-mile Northern and Central California service territory, and this includes an abundance of power lines that can be susceptible to winter storms, said Yeung. The lines can go down, he said, “With trees and tree limbs falling onto the lines and from time to time, car accidents.”

Yeung said the message of the campaign is simple: It’s about reminding people to exercise caution and be safe.

Click here for more information on safety.

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