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Frequently Asked Questions
Safety comes first. These answers to common questions are designed to help you be prepared for an emergency, and keep your home and neighborhood safe.
How do I install holiday lights and decorations safely?
When the holidays are near and it’s time to decorate, help your family enjoy the season safely.
- If you find frayed cords or wires, broken fuses, or cracked light bulbs, throw away the strand and get a new one
- Never use nails or staples to attach a string of lights or a cord
- Choose extension cords that are certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL, CSA, or ETA
- Don’t overload: limit yourself to three strands of lights per outlet
- Unplug decorative lights when you leave home or go to bed
After the holidays, there’s a safer way to remove and store lights and decorations.
- Unplug decorations, lights and extension cords before removing them
- Never allow children to tug on electrical cords – there’s a risk of tearing the insulation and exposing wires
- Outdoors, keep ladders, long-handled tools, and dangling light strands far away from overhead power lines, service drops, and pole-to-house connections
- Follow manufacturers’ and your city’s directions for safely disposing of worn or broken lights and decorations
What should I do if I see a downed or damaged electrical line?
Never touch or even approach a downed power line -- it can cause serious injury or even death. Whether overhead or on the ground, consider all power lines energized and dangerous. If you see a downed power line, call 911.
Learn more ways to stay safe.
What should I do if someone gets an electric shock?
Your first step is to call 911 and inform the operator that it’s an electrical emergency. Don’t touch anything or anybody that’s come in contact with energized equipment, and keep others away too. If the person is free from the electricity source and not touching it at all, administer first aid including CPR if needed. Be sure medical help is sought immediately, because electrical burns may not be visible. Learn more about safety around electricity.
What should I do in case of an electrical fire?
The best way to put out an electrical fire is with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have one, remember these tips.
- Never throw water on an electrical fire – you could be electrocuted
- Baking soda can be used to help extinguish an electrical fire
- If there’s smoke, fire, or a strange odor coming from wires, appliances, or electric motors, turn off both the appliance and the circuit breaker’s or fuse box’s main switch
- Call 911
Find more safety tips.
What should I do if I suspect a fixture, outlet, or appliance is unsafe?
If you have doubts about the safety of any electrical item, do not use it. We will inspect our equipment when you report a problem like flickering lights.
If we can't find a problem on our end, the equipment or wiring in your home may be faulty. We may recommend, after inspection, that you have a licensed professional check out the problem.
Get more Safety Tips.
What can I do to prepare for an emergency?
It's important to be prepared. A good place to start is creating a supply kit.
How can I report a streetlight outage?
Report a Streetlight Outage online or call us at 1-800-611-1911.
What if I need to trim trees near power lines?
If your trees have grown into or near power lines, pruning requires the expertise of a qualified line-clearance arborist. To report trees growing into or near power lines, call us at 1-800-655-4555 or submit a Tree Trimming Request online.
Learn more about keeping trees away from power lines.
Radio And TV Interference Information (RTVI)
What Causes RTVI?
Most interference is caused by household equipment or a neighbor's appliances and tests in most areas have shown little or no interference from Southern California Edison company lines. If your appliances are causing the RTVI, they may be affecting your neighbors' radios and televisions as well.
RTVI may be caused by common household appliances including heating pads, a faulty door bell transformer, tropical fish tank heaters and pumps, baby wipe warmers, touch lamps, dimmer switches, and home lighting photocell switches.
Finding The Source
It's easy to locate the source of an RTVI problem. Here's how:
Go to your main fuse box or circuit breaker panel with a battery-operated AM radio tuned between stations. Listen for interference on the radio. (Be sure to bring a flashlight if the box or panel is located in a dark or enclosed area.)
When you hear the interference that has been bothering you, interrupt the power to your home by turning off the MAIN circuit breaker. (Do not remove fuses and leave their holders exposed.)
If you no longer hear the interference on your radio, the source of the interference is in your home. If you continue to hear the interference, the source of the noise could be in a neighboring home or building. Restore the main breaker and all other sub-breakers to "on." For further assistance locating the source of the interference, please call SCE at 1-800-655-4555.
If the interference stopped when you shut off the main circuit breaker, try to locate the source of the interference in your home. With your AM radio tuned between stations, turn the MAIN circuit breaker back on. After the interference returns, turn the circuit breakers off one at a time until the noise stops. Now turn on all the breakers except the one that stopped the noise.
Because the source of the interference is on the circuit you turned off, check your house for the outlet, doorbell, light, clock, or other appliance or piece of electrical equipment without power.
Congratulations! Once you've located and removed the interfering device, your radio and television reception will return to normal.