Safety Tips

Power Line Safety

Accidentally coming into contact with a power line is extremely dangerous and, in some cases, deadly. Read the tips below to stay safe around power lines.

Keep A Safe Distance
Whether you’re playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment used to get electricity to your home.

  • Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines.
  • Never fly kites, remote control airplanes or balloons near power lines.
  • If you get something stuck in a power line, call Mid-Carolina 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.

Power Line Hazards and Cars
If a power line falls on a car, you should remain inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the power line. And never try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground. Immediately contact Mid-Carolina and emergency services.

The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire.

  • Open the door.
  • Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock.
  • Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground.
  • Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.

As in all power line-related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 and contact Mid-Carolina.

Generator Safety

When power lines are down, you can restore energy to your home by using another power source, like a portable generator. But portable generators plugged into household circuits can be extremely dangerous. Follow these tips closely to stay safe.

  • If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and 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.
  • Strictly follow manufacturer recommendations and specifications. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of your portable generator, contact Mid-Carolina or a qualified electrician immediately regarding installation and start-up activities.
  • Always position the generator outside your home or other building structure.
  • Only use generators in well-ventilated areas. Generators are a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if not well ventilated.

Prevent Backfeed
Backfeed is an extremely real and dangerous potential risk of generators. In fact, electrocution is the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Backfeed occurs when power lines are inadvertently energized by backfed electrical energy from a generator. In this scenario, the electric current reverses and goes back through the circuit to the outside power grid, energizing power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage. It puts our utility workers, other repair workers, and people in neighboring buildings in grave danger.

To avoid backfeed into our power grid, always switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting a gasoline- or diesel-powered portable generator.

Power Pole Safety
Know what’s on the power pole near you to safely work around it. Click the image below to learn more.

Planting Trees or Landscaping Near Power Lines

When you start landscaping around your home or yard, please look up before planting trees. Do not plant trees if power lines are overhead. Planted vegetation within the Mid-Carolina right-of-way is subject to our re-clearing procedures. When planting trees outside of the right-of-way, you will need to take into account the species of tree as well as the distance from the right-of-way in order to minimize the effects of our re-clearing procedures. If you have any questions about planting near power lines, please contact us at 803-749-6400, 888-813-8000, or email memberservices@mcecoop.com.

Learn more about safe tree planting.

Call 811 Before You Dig – It’s free.
Before digging on your property, always call 811 – South Carolina’s free call-before-you-dig phone number. Request to have the approximate location of buried utility lines marked with paint or flags so you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground line.

Equipment and Power Line Damage Prevention

Keeping our equipment and power lines protected helps keep you safe and avoids unplanned repair costs. There is potential liability for any action resulting in damage or loss to any part of Mid-Carolina’s facilities and equipment, however, including our distribution lines. If damage occurs, whether by accident, acts of carelessness or improper notification to SC811, the responsible party (homeowner, contractor or visitor) will be held liable for repair costs associated with their actions. This includes incidents like cutting a tree onto a powerline, digging into an underground line, a mis-aimed hunting shot, or a third-party vehicle resulting in damage to our system, related equipment, power lines or fiber optic cables. Mid-Carolina strives to keep operating expenses down for all members by making every effort to recover repair costs from any party responsible for facility damages.