|Section 6 - Safety Precautions|
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|Section 6 - Safety Precautions|
The safe distribution and use of electric energy is the responsibility of both the member and the Cooperative. The requirements set forth in this handbook are the result of many years of experience gained in operating electric systems and have been adopted by the Cooperative to ensure the safety and health of its members, employees and contractors.
Proximity to Electric Lines
The Cooperative’s high voltage electric system operates at voltage levels between 2,400 and 48,000 volts. In order to distribute electricity efficiently, bare electric conductors energized at these voltage levels are present on Cooperative poles at virtually every location where service is rendered. To avoid serious injury or death, consumers are required to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) with respect to minimum distances between the Cooperative’s line and any other object such as an antenna, balcony or roof, outdoor lighting, signs, buildings or other structures. Where pedestrians routinely access such structures, even greater clearance is required. Care must be exercised in erecting antennas, ladders, and other tall objects to ensure that this minimum clearance is not exceeded, and that the clearance between a person working on the ladder or other structure and an energized conductor is at least this amount.
In general, the Cooperative’s easement deeds prohibit the construction or erection of antennas, buildings, structures, or other facilities within power line rights-of-way (usually a distance of 25 feet from either side of the center line).
The Cooperative urges all members, contractors and non-members to consult with its Engineering Department before undertaking work in proximity to the Cooperative’s line.
Equipment Owned by the Cooperative
All work performed on Cooperative facilities shall be performed by qualified Cooperative personnel only. An exception to this is permitted for licensed electrical contractors installing low voltage equipment at ground level on Cooperative poles or other structures. However, under no circumstances are contractors not under the employment of the Cooperative allowed to work on Cooperative poles above ground level or on Cooperative underground equipment.
Standby electric generators installed by a member to provide back-up service in the event of an interruption in the supply of electricity from the Cooperative must be equipped with a suitable isolation device as described in paragraph #4 of Section 8- Service Entrance Equipment. Standby Generators not properly equipped with this device present a serious hazard to line workers repairing the Cooperatives lines during interruptions. An isolation device is designed to ensure that under no circumstances shall the member’s standby generator energize the Cooperative’s high voltage system. Members contemplating the installation of standby generation equipment to supply all or a portion of the member’s electric system must notify the Cooperative and permit the Cooperative to inspect the installation before such equipment is placed in service.
Portable standby generators designed to provide back –up service to specific appliances in isolation rather than to the member’s electric system do not require auxiliary service entrance equipment.
Permanently Interconnected Generators designed to operate in parallel with the Cooperative’s system require special protection equipment engineered for the specific application to ensure that the generator is isolated from the Cooperative’s system immediately following an interruption or during other emergency conditions. The Cooperative should be contacted well in advance of planning for the installation of interconnected generating equipment to permit sufficient time to evaluate the adequacy of its distribution system to accommodate the interconnection and to determine the proper protective equipment that will be required. Studies for large generators that require considerable engineering time and effort will be performed at the expense of the applicant.
Disconnections for Reasons of Health & Safety
The Cooperative has the authority, as more fully set forth in its Rules and Regulations, to disconnect electric service to a member’s property when necessary to protect the health safety of the member, employees of the Cooperative or the general public. Where possible, the Cooperative will strive to provide the member with a reasonable amount of time to correct the deficiency before disconnecting service. However, in cases where the condition represents a serious or imminent health or safety threat, the Cooperative may be required to disconnect service with minimal, if any, advanced notice.