gallop

Galloping Lines

Galloping power lines may sound ridiculous, but they really do occur and can be very dangerous. The most common cause of galloping lines is ice that builds up on one side of a power line as a result of strong winds. This buildup creates an airfoil, which changes the flow of air around the normally round line. This change in air flow can cause the power line to start to bounce. These lines can bounce and buck enough to hit another line, damage themselves enough to cause a power outage, or even fall to the ground.

Once galloping starts, there is not much a power company can do to alleviate it until winds die down. This is why many power lines have objects, like twisted wire or round or angular pieces of metal attached to the line. These are devices placed on power lines to help reduce the galloping of lines and prevent potential danger.

If you encounter galloping lines, stay away, warn others to stay away, and call the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power Emergency Line 616.842.2241. In addition to the possibility of power outages, there is a danger of the lines or other electrical equipment breaking loose and falling and of ice being dislodged from the lines and falling to the ground.

The Grand Haven Board of Light & Power urges you to pay attention to and be aware of weather forecasts so that you can be prepared and not get caught off guard by a wind storm and to keep the following safety tips in mind after a windstorm:

  • When you see power lines on the ground, stay away, warn others to stay away, and contact the BLP Emergency Line at 616.842.2241 or 911. Lines do not have to be arcing or sparking to be live.
  • Any utility wire, including telephone or cable lines which are sagging or down, could be in contact with an energized power line also making them dangerous. So stay away from all lines.
  • Be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Downed power lines can energize objects around it, such as chain link fences and metal culverts.
  • Keep in mind that a line that is “dead” could still become energized during power restoration efforts or improper use of generators.
  • Never drive over a downed line. It could cause poles or other equipment to come crashing down.
  • If you are in a car that has come in contact with a downed power line, stay in your vehicle. Wait until the utility crew has arrived and de-energized the line. Warn others not to approach the car. Only exit the car in the case of fire; and, in doing so, be sure to jump out and away from the car with both feet together. Then hop away while continuing to keep both feet together.

We are proud members of Safe Electricity, find more electrical safety tips @ SafeElectricity.org

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Protect Children from Shocks with TROs (Tamper Resistant Outlets)

If you have toddlers around the home, you know how curious they are. Their curiosity helps them learn and understand their world better, but it can also put them at risk. Grand Haven Board of Light & Power urges you to take precautions to childproof your home and educate children at a young age about electrical safety. Small fingers can easily fit into sockets, and curious children may poke ordinary objects into slots of electrical outlets. They can suffer severe, potentially fatal, shock. Protect your children from such shocks by making sure your outlets are tamper resistant.

Tamper resistant outlets or tamper resistant electrical receptacles (TROs) have shutters that stay closed unless a plug with two prongs is inserted into the outlet. Both springs on the shutters must be compressed at the same time to allow an object to gain access.

This provides a permanent solution to the problem. If a child attempts to stick an object in the outlet, the shutter prevents the object from entering and no contact with electricity is made.

Since 2008, the National Electrical Code requires all new and renovated dwellings to be equipped with TROs. Therefore, if your home was built before 2008, there is a good chance your outlets are not tamper resistant.

Installing a TRO is a fairly simple home improvement project for experienced DIYers, however, if you do not have a thorough understanding of electricity, TROs should be installed by a professional. Steps include:

  • Before starting any electrical project, make sure to shut off the power at the breaker box.
  • Remove the faceplate to the outlet with a screwdriver.
  • Next, remove the screws holding the device into the wall.
  • Pull the outlet out of the wall and loosen the screws holding the three wires in place and detach the old outlet.
  • To install the TRO, install the wires in the same locations that were on the old outlet: the bare copper (ground) wire gets attached to the green screw, the white (neutral) wire attached to the silver screw, and the black (hot) wire attached to the gold screw.
  • Fold wires back into the box and screw the new outlet back on the wall.
  • Finally, replace the faceplate and turn the power back on.

TROs are strongly advised for household safety, but there are some other safety alternatives including outlet caps or sliding covers. These devices cover up the outlet, but they are not fail-proof. Outlet caps can be lost and are also a choking hazard for some children. Many children can also figure out how to remove the caps and sliding covers.

The Grand Haven Board of Light & Power is a member of Safe Electricity. If you would like more information on other safety tips visit SafeElectricity.org.

SCAM

We have been contacted by some of our customers indicating they have received calls from someone who is saying they are from the Michigan Electric company and if they don’t make a payment right away their electricity will be shut off.  The person calling is requesting credit card information.
This is a scam.  We would like to remind our customers you should not give out any information.
Some key points we’d like to emphasize include:
We would not call customers and tell them their electricity is going to be shut off if they don’t give us payment information.
We would not initiate a call requesting payment or credit card information.
If a customer receives a call requesting private information, they should not give it out unless they are sure of the identity of the person requesting it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call our Customer Account Representatives at: 616.846.6250.

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