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Stay safe while working near electricity

May 14 2019, 12:00 PM

Stay safe while working near electricity

Weekends can be a perfect time to get outside and bring your yard back to life after winter. Whether you’re planning on pruning shrubs, cleaning out gutters or getting your cottage ready for the summer, your work could put you near power lines.

Be sure to look up and around for power lines before starting any job around your home this weekend. These lines have the power to injure or even kill. Keeping this in mind will help you and your family have a productive, fun and safe weekend.

Backyard cleanup

Need to get up and give those gutters a good cleaning? Make sure your ladder is the right height for you to reach your work area comfortably, and safely.

If there are power lines nearby, place your ladder at least 3 feet away from the line. If your ladder is too close, electrical arcing can occur, which could result in serious injury for you if you are on the ladder.

Treat all downed power lines as if they were live.  Stay at least 10 metres away from anything the lines may be touching, including water and fences. Never attempt to repair damaged power lines or remove tree limbs from power lines.

If water got into your property

Cleaning up from flooding or opening your summer property this weekend? Please make safety your first priority.

Check your electrical panel for damage.  If it is damaged, it must be replaced. Secure a licensed Electrical Contractor.

If your water heater has been damaged by water, contact us immediately. If you need to have your water heater replaced because of flooding, we will be waiving all fees associated with replacing your water for the Spring flood 2018.

If your power was disconnected during a flood, NB Power can safely reconnect your power after these steps have been completed.

If you have a safety concern contact us: 1 800 663-6272

How to make your holidays safe and energy efficient

December 12 2018, 15:52 PM

How to make your holidays safe and energy efficient

The holidays are almost here. For many, that means it’s time to dig out the lights, get out the holiday décor and trim those trees. Did you know it’s also a great time to use less energy? If you’re planning on stringing up some lights inside and outside your home this holiday, be sure to consider switching to LEDs (light emitting diodes.)

Using ENERGY STAR® certified LED lights is a great alternative to save power, since LED lights use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Traditional bulbs consume about 7 watts of electricity per hour, per bulb, while LEDs use about 2 watts per hour, per strand.

Let’s take a look at what that translates to in dollars.

Light bulb type

Strands of Lights (50 bulbs/ strand)

Total cost (at $.1059/ KwH)

Traditional

6

$41

LED

6

$1.18

*based on bulbs running for 6 hours a day for 31 days. 

Another way you can control how much energy your holiday lights use, put both your indoor and outdoor lights on timers, and set them to turn on and off at set times.

Keep it safe

If you’ve got a lot of light-up decorations in your home, be careful not to plug too many into one outlet. It could result in heat building up in the wires, which could lead to a fire.

Here are a few other easy steps you can take in your home to help keep your family safe from electrical fires:

  • Make sure all extension cords and electric decorations are marked for proper use.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor decorations before going to sleep or leaving home.
  • When decorating outdoors keep yourself at least 10 meters away from power lines to keep yourself safe from electrical arching.
  • Make sure outdoor electric decorations are labelled for outdoor use.
  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may result in shock or fire.
  • Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Get rid of old lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.

By incorporating these habits into your routine each year, you can ensure your family has a safe, energy-efficient and happy holiday season. Visit the safety and save energy sections of our website for more great tips to use in your home.

 

How camping gear can help you in an emergency

November 22 2018, 11:11 AM

How camping gear can help you in an emergency

Camping is a great way to enjoy all the beauty New Brunswick has to offer. But did you know you can use your camping gear during an emergency like a power outage? If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you might have a lot of these items around the house already. Here are 7 items you can use to help you and your loved ones be storm ready!

  1. Lights
    Flashlights, head lamps and lanterns can help light your home at night when the power is out. Whether it’s just for a few hours, or a few days, these lights can spare you some stubbed toes during an outage. Make sure you keep spare batteries in a drawer or container for easy access. Avoid using candles, as they can be a fire hazard.
  2. 72 hour supply of non-perishable food
    Food that you take camping can be a great option during an emergency or power outage. Make sure you have enough food to last 72 hours, as recommended by the Government of Canada. Canned food, freeze-dried meals and ready-to-eat food and snacks are all great options to have on hand. Don’t forget to keep a manual can-opener handy too!
  3. Coolers
    If you lose power during the winter, large coolers stored outside can be a great way to keep food you want to cook that day cool so you don’t have to open your fridge. Make sure you keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. The contents should be good for 24-48 hours.
  4. Outdoor grill
    Not matter the season, you can fire up your grill to cook food for your family. Be prepared by keeping spare fuel for your grill around so you can get it going quickly. Never use your grill inside the house- this is a major safety hazard- keep your family safe and only operate it outdoors.
  5. Backpack
    Turn a spare backpack into an easy-to-grab emergency kit that includes the essentials like a first aid kit, water, cash, medications and pet food. Have a multi-tool for your camping trips? You can also add this to your kit. Watch this video to see what other essential items you need to get your kit together!
  6. Radio
    If you lose power during major weather events, you might not be able to get important updates on your smart phone, as sometimes cell service can also be impacted. Having a radio or solar powered radio on hand can be a great way to stay connected to your local news for important updates on the situation. During outages we work closely with local stations to provide updates on restoration progress.
  7. Battery banks
    Portable battery banks are a great way to keep your smart phone charged on your excursions so you never miss a photo, but they can also help you out during an emergency. Make sure your battery banks are fully charged and somewhere handy during power outages. If you lose power, you can use your smart phone to report your outage on our website and check for outage updates on Twitter.


What other camping items would you use in your emergency kit? Tell us in the comments below. And don’t miss your chance to enter our Storm Preparedness contest.

 

Winter is Coming – We are Prepared. Are you?

November 6 2017, 15:27 PM

Winter is Coming – We are Prepared. Are you?

The warm weather that we have experienced in the summer and into fall can easily lull one into a sense of complacency – but we all know what is coming our way.

That is why at NB Power, even on blue sky fall days that have set record temperatures, we are working hard to prepare for the winter days ahead. Just as we prepare for the inevitable tough weather events to come, there are many things that you, our customers, can do to be better prepared.

The ice storm of January 2017 was a remarkable event for our province. It was the single biggest weather event that NB Power has experienced in our nearly 100 year history.  It cost more than $30 million and resulted in 600 broken poles, requiring 150 new transformers and 52 kilometres of new distribution lines. At its peak, 133,000 customers were without electricity.

Since this event we have been doing engineering work to strengthen our systems in the Acadian Peninsula and other more vulnerable areas of the province.

In the summer, we put more effort into tree maintenance and have been doing more weather modelling to better prepare for the winter ahead.

Our power lines are built to meet or exceed national standards for the construction of overhead lines.  Many are built to an even higher standard, especially along our coastlines. These standards include weather impact criteria such as ice build-up and wind force based on decades of weather data specific to each region of the country.  

But we also know that we are witnessing a new weather reality in our Province, and NB Power will improve and invest in your grid to ensure it will be able to withstand larger ice loads and stronger winds so that we can deliver power safely and reliably to you. 

We have dedicated the week of Nov. 6-10 as Storm Preparation Week and will be doing a number of outreach programs with our colleagues at the N.B. Emergency Measures Organization, but obviously being diligent and ready for bad weather is a year-round endeavor for us and many of our partners. Last summer for example, lightning and heavy wind events posed particular challenges for our teams and customers in several areas of the province.

There are a number of things you can do to be better prepared. Check the service entrance to your home to make sure there are no trees near it which could result in damage to it in heavy winds. Make sure we have your current contact information. Always have a corded phone in your house or a fully charged cell phone. If you have medical equipment that required power to operate, make sure we know about it.

Have an emergency kit ready with a flashlight, first aid kit, cash, and battery powered radio to stay informed of restoration efforts or other important information.

Visit our web site to learn more about storm preparedness and obtain tips on other ways you can be better prepared.

As we move ever closer to winter, I want to personally thank you, our customers, for your patience, support and perseverance as we learn, understand and prepare for the impact of future storms.

We will always work hard to improve reliability and strengthen our distribution systems and we thank you for working with us as we move forward to meet the challenges in the months ahead.

Above all, your safety and comfort is vitally important to us – as is your trust.  We will continue to work towards improvements each and every day to maintain that trust. 

Gaëtan Thomas

President and CEO

NB Power

Keeping safe around Hydro facilities

June 2 2016, 14:41 PM

Keeping safe around Hydro facilities

Did you know how quickly the water flows change above and below NB Power’s 7 hydro facilities?

As electricity demands change for the province, during peak times of the day dam gates are opened and closed regularly. These changes can result in rapid water level and flow changes above and below dam structures.

Water in the head ponds above hydro dams and stations and the waters directly below them are particularly dangerous. Fast-moving water coming from the station or dam creates dangerous turbulence and strong undercurrents.

We work to ensure all safety measures are in place so people understand the risk involved in getting too close to a hydro dam. 

All of our hydro stations operate remotely from the Mactaquac Generating Station. These facilities can release water at any time, any day of the year. This means that calm waters can suddenly turn into rapids with strong undertows that can easily pull you under water.

Areas inside warning signs, buoys and booms are extremely dangerous.

 

Here’s an example of how quickly the water can change- this is the same spot near one of our facilities- just a few minutes apart.

Remotely operated gates at the dam release large volumes of water that could leave you stranded, swamp your boat or put in in the undertow of water current.

Above a dam, the intake currents are strong. This is why we’re installing additional safety measures, such as booms (large yellow barrier hooked to anchors) above the Mactaquac dam to keep boaters and swimmers safe from entering the fast currents of the dam entry points.

 

New safety boom recently installed at the Mactaquac Generating Station. 

Signs and Fencing

NB Power follows the Canadian Dam Association’s guidelines to make sure people are aware of the risks near hydro dams. There are signs and fencing around our hydro stations in the locations identified below.

These exist for your protection. They make sure people aren’t caught up in a changing water flow and unable to get to safety.

Lights, Cameras and Audio

We have installed video cameras below the dams that provide control room operators the ability to check the area below the dam before changing the operation of the dam that will change water flows. These cameras are not completely reliable on their own, especially if it is at night. There are also strobe lights and alarm sounds to signal the change in water flows. These signal the water flows are going to change - and indicates to people in the vicinity to get out of harm’s way.

Another beautiful part of our province is the Grand Falls Gorge which has evolved into a tourist attraction with zip lines, kayaking and camping. People come for fun in the sun with a beautiful view.  However, it is crucial for people to recognize the dangers associated with the gorge.

Grand Falls generating station operates by step spillage. This procedure is in place to prevent the release of large amounts of water all at once but rather through a series of smaller discharge steps over a period of time so to reduce the potential hazard downstream should anyone be present. 

Here is a time lapse video a hydraulic assessment at La Rochelle. This is a 12,000 CFS step discharge.

In case of an emergency near a hydro dam, call 911 immediately.

 

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