Member safety is important to us.
At Central Texas Electric Co-op, safety is always a top priority for our members and for our employees. Below is some important safety information to help keep you and your family safe.
Electricity is a potentially dangerous force that can cause injury and death if handled improperly. Knowing how to play it safe around electricity, inside and out, can prevent accidents and fatalities.
Use the interactive Electrical Safety Checklist to make sure your home is as safe as possible.
Click any room below to get started.
Always look up before raising ladders or other long or tall objects. Keep ladders and scaffolds as far away from power lines as possible.
Always keep electrical toys, electrical appliances (hedge trimmers, leaf blowers,) grills, and other items clear of any water including swimming pools, fish ponds, rain, sprinklers, ditches and hoses. Remember that water and electricity are a dangerous combination.
Never put anything other than an electric plug into an electric socket. Do not put fingers, pencils or any objects into any outlet at any time and make sure that children do not do this. Safety caps available at any discount, drug or grocery store can be placed in unused outlets for safety.
Remove plugs from outlets by grasping the plug and not the cord. Tugging or pulling electrical cords can damage the cords and create a potential safety hazard.
Never use any electrical appliance or device when wet, with wet hands or when standing in water.
Keep fire extinguishers throughout the home and make sure that at least one of them is rated for electrical fires. Never attempt to put out an electrical fire with water.
In the event of electric shock, do not attempt to provide first aid but call 9-1-1 for professional medical help immediately.
Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
Don’t climb trees near power lines.
Never fly kites, remote control airplanes, drones or balloons near power lines.
If you get something stuck in a power line, call CTEC to get it.
Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
Never touch or go near a downed power line.
Don’t touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car.
Keep children and pets away.
Outdoor Work Safety
- Accidents on the job site can result in lost time, delays in construction, and worst of all, the death and/or injury of employees.
- When on the job site, remember to be aware of your surroundings and map overhead powerlines in and around your construction zone before work begins.
- Always use a spotter when work around power lines is not avoidable.
- Look up before raising lifts or beds on work vehicles.
- Look up before setting up ladders or scaffolding.
- Never carry a power tool by the cord or yank the cord to disconnect it from the receptacle.
- Keep cords away from heat, oil and sharp edges and disconnect them when not in use.
- Use gloves and appropriate safety footwear when using electric tools.
- Store electric tools in a dry place when not in use and do not use them in damp or wet locations unless they’re approved for that purpose.
- Never spray water near powerlines.
Office and Indoor Work Safety
- Do not overload circuits.
- Do not pull cables to release a plug from an outlet. Hold the plug to pull it from the outlet.
- Use surge protectors not extension cords. Do not plug two surge protectors together.
- Do not cover power cords with rugs or mats.
- Do not run electrical cords through pedestrian aisles or doorways.
- Unplug or disconnect machines before servicing or repairing.
- Do not use electrical equipment or appliances near water or wet surfaces.
- Never use electrical equipment when hands or the equipment are wet.
- Regularly check for defects in cords and equipment.
- Do not plug a space heater or fan into an extension cord or power strip.
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers.
Effects of Backfeed
The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.
Other Generator Hazards
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas.
Learn more about generators for your home or business here
If you plan on doing any digging on your property, it is very important to have all underground utilities located prior to the project to prevent costly and potentially dangerous underground lines.
Whether you are digging for a flower bed, a fence post or a swimming pool, find out if there are any electric or utility lines in the area. Simply dial 811 or visit texas811.org, it is free, and it is the law.
If you have tree limbs on your property that are leaning into or hanging over the power lines or you are worried about a tree that is dead and ready to fall and could land in the power lines, please call us at 1-800-900-2832 before removing them. Our experienced line workers and hired contractors will trim the necessary branches.
Never plant trees, shrubs or bushes under or near electric lines.
Tiny trees grow into big trees whose branches can touch electric lines. Trees easily conduct electricity, putting tree-climbing, kite-flying children at risk of injury.
When planting trees or shrubs, keep in mind the shape and the size the species will reach at maturity. Select locations that are far enough from rights-of-way to ensure future growth will not interfere with power lines. Below is a diagram showing suggested planting distances for small, medium and large trees.
Of course, before you dig the hole to plant a tree or shrub, call Texas811 by dialing 811 to make sure you don't hit a buried utility line.
Request Tree Trimming - You can complete a form to let us know about trees or vegetation that need to be trimmed or cleared of electric lines.
Electric consumers can be targets for scams. It is important to know how to spot a scam to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
- CTEC will never call or email you to threaten service disconnection if payment is not made immediately.
- CTEC will never ask you to pay with a prepaid card.
- CTEC will never call from an out-of-state number.
- CTEC will never have a technician call you to say they are coming to disconnect power.
- CTEC will never request a cash payment at your home or business.
- CTEC will never try to sell you solar panels, energy audits or any other products or services door to door.
- CTEC will never call or email you requesting bank or wire transfer information.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident and power lines are touching the vehicle:
Assume it's live. Always assume that any downed lines are live and dangerous. Do not attempt to touch or remove the wires and warn others to stay away.
Stay put. Unless there is a secondary emergency, such as a fire, it is safer to stay inside the vehicle than trying to exit.
Call 9-1-1. Let the dispatcher know that you were in an accident, and you have a downed line on your vehicle. The authorities will contact the power company and line workers will be sent to the scene to shut off power.
Warn others. Witnesses may not notice the downed line and could be coming to help. Warn them to stay at least 40 feet away.
If another emergency poses a greater threat, you may need to exit your vehicle.
If you must exit:
Get yourself ready. The goal is to avoid touching the car and the ground at the same time. Remove any loose clothing, open your car door, step onto the metal frame of the car with your feet close together and tuck your hands and elbows into your chest.
Jump from the vehicle. When jumping, keep your feet together. This is more important than how far you jump. If your feet are apart from each other, you could create a bridge, allowing electricity to run through you. Jump as far as you can from the vehicle without jeopardizing your stance.
Shuffle or hop to safety. Don't become a circuit! Shuffle your feet in slow short strides always maintaining contact with the ground or hop with feet together until you are at least 40 feet away from the downed wire.
The Texas Move Over/Slow Down law requires all Texas drivers to move one lane over, if possible when approaching an emergency vehicle or service utility vehicle parked on the shoulder with warning lights in operation. If moving over isn’t practical or possible, drivers must slow down to at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. This law applies to the following vehicles:
- Police vehicles
- Fire Engines
- TXDOT vehicles or other highway construction or maintenance vehicles
- Tow trucks
- Power utility vehicles
- Garbage trucks
Have a safety plan in the event of a power outage
Prepare an outage kit to have on hand before any outages occur. A fully stocked outage kit will be crucial if extended outages occur. Here are some ideas of what a kit can include:
- Battery-powered radio
- Flashlights & fresh batteries
- Emergency supplies of water
- Non-perishable, easily-prepared foods
- Drinking water
- Manual, non-electric can & bottle openers
- Candles, matches/lighters
- Portable heater (gas or oil)
- Camping equipment
- Charger for cell phone or laptop
- Blankets & pillows
- Medications & personal hygiene products
- Non-cordless phone
- First-aid kit
- Pet supplies
- Fire extinguisher & smoke alarm
- Family & emergency contact list
- Hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and toilet paper.
- Books, deck of cards or games
Other ways to be prepared:
- Sign up for our SmartHub app, it is the best way to report outages and stay informed about the restoration process.
- Have an exit plan, if you are unprepared for extended outages you need to have a place to go where you can be safe.
- If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. It is also a good practice to keep a charging bank in full power to charge cell phones or other devices if needed.
- If you have a fireplace or woodstove, keep kindling and dry firewood on hand.
- When there is impending dangerous weather, fill your bathtub with water if your supply depends on electricity.
- Fill up your vehicles with gas in the event that you need to evacuate or relocate to another area; and if you use a portable generator, fill up fuel cans.
- Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the freezer, you can use them to help keep food cold during a power outage as it thaws out to drink.
- Fill bathtubs or large containers or tubs with water before bad weather for extra water.
- Winterize vehicles, not just automobiles.
- To help prevent burst pipes, close any shut-off valves that lead to outside faucets and drain excess water from the lines. Also, drain lines in unheated areas of your home like the attic.
Pets and Livestock
- Keep extra pet food on hand or in your emergency outage kit.
- Keep plenty of freshwater for your pets.
- For smaller livestock water troughs, you can place floating objects in water to keep them from completely icing over and make removing built-up ice easier.
- Filling jugs with saltwater and enough air to float can make an automatic waterer function since the water around the jug will not freeze.
- For livestock tanks, have equipment and/or tools available to drill or bust holes to allow for watering. ">
Before calling the co-op during a power outage, check your home's panel box. A blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker could be at fault.
If you've determined that the source of the interruption is outside your home, report your outage at once. Outages can be reported:
By using our SmartHub app or by phone at 1-800-900-2832
During an Extended Outage
- We will provide updates whenever possible on our website and Facebook. Do not use Facebook to report outages.
- Turn off large electric appliances and equipment so that lines are not overloaded when power is restored.
- Use caution and be sure to have adequate ventilation when operating generators, lanterns, heaters, and fuel-fired cookstoves.
- If you use a generator, have it installed by a certified electrician. Improperly installed generators may feed energy back into the distribution lines, endangering our linemen and others.
- Watch weather reports closely. If the weather is expected to worsen or outages are prolonged, consider staying with friends, family, or in a local shelter.
- If you are safely able, check on elderly relatives, neighbors, and friends to make sure they’re safe, especially if they live alone.
- If it's a hot time of year, dress in loose, lightweight clothing and stay on the coolest, lowest level of your home.
- Use natural ventilation to cool homes, and consider purchasing battery-powered fans.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid heavy meals, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol.
- Close all drapes and blinds on the sunny side of your residence.
- Take your family and pets to a basement or other cool location if you have one. Also, consider going to an air-conditioned public place during warmer daytime hours.
- Stay inside, and dress warmly. Staying warm is a priority. Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and scarves.
- Close off unneeded rooms to keep the heat in your living areas.
- Place a draft block at the bottom of doors to minimize cold drafts from entering the house.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby, and know how to use it.
- Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are often more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
- Keep your faucets on a slow drip to keep pipes from freezing. Catch the dripping water in a clean container, sink, or tub. If your pipes freeze, turn off the main water supply to prevent further damage.
- Don’t use your stove or oven for heat. Gas stoves and ovens produce carbon monoxide, and electric ones pose a fire risk when not used as designed.
- Keep refrigerator or freezer doors closed. A freezer that is half full or full can keep foods frozen 24 to 48 hours. Foods can stay safe in an unopened refrigerator for up to four hours. If an outage lasts longer than four hours, remove and pack meat, milk and other dairy products in a cooler with ice.
- Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
- Use safe alternative food preparations. A barbecue grill is an excellent way to prepare food. Always grill outside.
Stay Away From Downed Power Lines
When outside, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live. Warn others to stay away and call 911 or contact us.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator that is above 40 degrees. If food has an unusual color or smell, discard it.