NPEI Safety Tips
Planting New Trees and Shrubs
Plant new trees away from powerlines so when they grow they won't come to close.
- Trees too close can touch powerlines and cause a fire; they can also create an electric shock if someone touches the tree.
- Tree branches and trees may come down during storms and high winds contacting powerlines close. This is a safety hazard for anyone close by. Stay back 10 metres from a downed powerline and away from any trees that may be in contact with a powerline.
- Electrical Safety Authority Planting Under or Around Powerlines & Electrical Equipment guideline
Avoid planting trees or shrubs close to any padmount transformers (green box).
- This equipment contains electrical cables that run underground.
- Plants also make it difficult for our utility personnel to find and access the equipment.
- Always call before you dig. Contact Ontario One Call to locate all underground utility-related infrastructure.
Maintaining Trees and Shrubs
Always be aware of any electrical hazards that may be close by when completing any yard work or home maintenance.
Be careful when using ladders to prune trees, trim bushes and clean eavestroughts.
Carry ladders sideways to prevent inadvertent contact with overhead powerlines.
Contact NPEI to arrange for the power to be disconnected FREE once per calendar year when you have hired a qualified contractor to do vegetation management work near powerlines.
Electrical Safety Authority Vegetation Management Around Powerlines guideline
Call NPEI for your free disconnect one per year or when you notice a tree that is interfering with NPEI powerlines. For this service please call 1-877-270-3938
Extension Cord Use
Extension cords are common and convenient for getting power to those hard to reach places like your back yard. Using the wrong extension cord can pose electrical safety risks as well as potential fire hazards. Ensure you are always using the right cord, at the right place for the right use.
- Use outdoor rated extension cords for outdoor use.
- Check extension cords over for any damage to prevent potential shocks, electrocution or fire.
- Plug your extension cords into electrical outlets that meet the Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements and have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
- Extension cords are not meant as a long-term power source. If you need ongoing power, hire a licensed electrical contractor to have permanent outdoor wiring and outlets installed. Electrical Safety Authority Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contactor information.
An alternative power source that many people use are portable or standby generators. If not used properly or if connected improperly these can pose safety hazards:
- Electrical shock
- Fire hazards
- Carbon monoxide hazards if used inside, including the garage
If you are considering buying a portable or standby generator:
- Understand your electricity requirements to ensure you have the right size and voltage for what you are intending to use the generator for
- Purchase appropriate generator access such as a properly sized connector cord and plugs as well as an approved transfer device or switch
- Standby generators are permanently installed into your electrical wiring and must have a transfer device. This protects your home as well as the utility system and utility workers by preventing generator power form flowing back into the utility system.
Maintain any equipment that you do have installed and make sure you hire qualified licensed electrical contractors only. Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contactor
Watch the Electrical Safety Authority's video Using Portable Generators Safely for important safety messages.
Boathouses and Docks at the Cottage
Electric shock can happen anywhere electricity is present - in the boathouse, on the dock itself and in the water. Electrical installations and equipment near water should be checked regularly and maintained to ensure they're safe and comply with Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements.
- Check over any electrical systems you have installed on your dock
- If any issues are found immediately turn off the power at the electrical panel and contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor for repairs.
- Use marine cords with a ground pin and never use frayed or damaged cords
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) need to be used for all outlets that supply any outdoor equipment, appliances and tools. Ensure to test the outlet as required.
- Use cover plates for outdoor outlets to help keep water and debris out of the outlet and prevent electrical shocks.
Hiring the right person for electrical work at the cottage:
- Hire a licensed electrical contractor for any work that you may need done at the cottage.
- Visit the Electrical Safety Authority's website for more information: Hiring a Licensed Electrical Contactor
For many of us water activities include fun with family and friends but we all need to remember that there are hazards as well. Water and electricity don't mix!
- All outdoor outlets should have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). This is especially important around pools, hot tubs and spas. They should have weatherproof covers to prevent moisture from getting in and be tested monthly.
- If you are installing a new pool, hot tub or spa, be sure to use qualified licensed electrical contractors for any electrical requirements.
- All electrical appliances, equipment and cords should be kept away from the water. When possible, use battery operated items.
- Avoid handling any electrical devices when you are wet.
- Make sure overhead lines are at the proper distance from your pool. If you are unsure, contact a qualified electrician or NPEI to make sure.
- Do not swim during a thunderstorm
- Perform regular maintenance and inspections on all electrical equipment and replace/upgrade where necessary.
To see our Pool Safety Clearances Brochure click here.
Know the Risks
When skin is wet or when surrounding surfaces (grass or pool deck) are wet this greatly increases the chance of electrical shock or electrocution when electricity is present.
Signs of Electrical Shock
You may feel a tingling sensation, may experience muscle cramps, may not be able to move or feel as if something is holding you in place.
If you think someone in the water is being shocked turn off all power but do not attempt to get in to the water.
Use a rescue device that does not conduct electricity to help the swimmer and call 911.
If you think you are being shocked try to move away from the source of the shock and if able, get out of the water immediately. Let others around you know there is a problem and have the power turned off.