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Outdoor TipsClick to toggle navigation breadcrumbs.
Keeping Your Family Safe Outdoors
Call 811 Before You Dig
See a Downed Power Line? Call 911
Safety Tips for Outdoor Chores & Play
Keep Balloons & Kites Away From Power Lines
Kites and balloons that come in contact with power lines can cause power outages. Keep them far away. If the wind pushes your kite near a power line, let go of it.
If you see anything caught in power lines, call us at 1-800-611-1911.
Flying Kites Safely
Enjoy your kite by flying it in an open area far away from overhead power lines and electricity facilities. More tips:
- Never attach anything metallic – wire, string, or fabric – to a kite
- Never fly a kite that’s damp or wet
Enjoy Balloons Safely
Keep balloons indoors and far away from power lines. More tips:
- Never attach metallic streamers to balloons
- Be sure balloons are secured with weights as required by California law; find balloon weights at party supply stores
Overhead Power Lines: Look Up, Look Out, and Live
When you’re doing yard work or outdoor chores, remember to look up and look out for power lines. Any contact with a power line can seriously hurt you, or even kill you. Be extra careful with ladders, tree trimming equipment, fruit-harvesting poles, pool skimmers, or any tool that you use above your head.
When you’re installing a rooftop satellite or antenna, or putting up a new flagpole, be sure to stay far away from overhead power lines.
Don’t Let Kids Play in Trees Touching Power Lines
Remind children to stay far away from trees that are growing into – or near – power lines. They could be energized and dangerous. To report trees growing into or near power lines, call us at 1-800-655-4555 or submit a Tree Trimming Request online.
Never Attempt to Remove Anything Caught in Power Lines
Whether it’s a kite, a balloon, or even an animal, never try to remove anything caught in power lines. It’s a job for trained experts. Instead, call us at 1-800-611-1911.
Call 811 Before You Dig
Digging into underground utility lines, pipes, or cables can disrupt service to an entire neighborhood. That’s why we ask you to call 811 a few days before your digging project. An expert will come out to mark the location of underground utility lines, so you can dig safely.
Pruning Trees is a Job for Experts
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.
Select the Right Outlet
To keep your family safe from electrical shock, use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets around the swimming pool or spa, and wherever you use power tools and equipment. GFCI outlets can sense unsafe electrical hazards and automatically shut off power before a serious injury or electrocution can occur.
To learn more about installing GFCI outlets, consult a qualified and licensed electrician.
Never Mix Water & Electricity
Water conducts electricity, and water that’s been in contact with electricity can be deadly. Remember:
- Never use electrical devices or power tools near water
- Store electric-powered equipment in a garage or shed – and away from the elements
- Dry your hands thoroughly before reaching for anything powered by electricity
Holiday Lights & Decorations
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
Connecting a Portable Generator
If you use a portable generator, rely on a qualified installer or licensed electrician to connect it to our system or to your home’s wiring.
Did you know that connecting a generator directly to a household circuit creates “backfeed” which presents a danger to our repair crews? If you need your generator to be wired directly to your home, notify us first at 1-800-655-4555 – it’s the law.
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Raising your air conditioner’s thermostat by 5 degrees Fahrenheit will save you about 10% on cooling costs.
During cold days and nights, set your heating thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Clean or replace your air conditioner's filter regularly to help it run more effectively.
Use a portable or ceiling fan instead of your air conditioner. Fans cost less to run and use less energy than A/C.
Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers at the same time an air conditioner is running.
Close drapes and shades to keep direct sunlight out and lower your cooling costs.
Weatherize your home by insulating, caulking, and weatherstripping to reduce both cooling and heating costs—these measures pay for themselves over time.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs last up to 10X longer than incandescent bulbs and produce less heat while using only a quarter of the electricity.
Consider unplugging electronics when they are not in use. Even when turned off, the amount of electricity still being used by electronics adds up.
Use nonessential appliances such as clothes washers and dryers during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.).
Surf the Internet late at night or during early morning hours when the demand for electricity is lower.
Run swimming pool equipment for the minimum amount of time, and during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.).
Dirty coils can make you refrigerator work harder than necessary. Check and clean the coils regularly according to the owner’s manual, especially during the summer.