Power Line Safety Urged As Hurricane Season Starts

Published On: Oct 28 2011 03:03:58 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 01 2011 10:36:17 AM CDT
HOUSTON -

Wednesday is the first day of hurricane season, and CenterPoint Energy demonstrated what can happen to people who touch a downed power line.

CenterPoint Energy officials said safety around power lines should always be the No. 1 priority during tropical storms and hurricanes.

"The normal outcome of high-voltage on electrical contact is third-degree burns, six-degree burns where your bones can burn up inside, dismemberment or you could possibly die," said Greg Dietrich with CenterPoint Energy.

On a 7,200-volt power line, workers demonstrated the dangers of a live wire on hot dogs, branches and rope.

"The electricity just doesn't burn your finger. As the hot dog is simulating, it also will go down your body and burn anything it comes in contact with," said Dietrich.

After Hurricane Ike, between 2.1 million and 2.3 million CenterPoint Energy customers were without electricity. It took the company 18 days to completely restore power. Strong winds and heavy rains caused many power lines to go down.

CenterPoint Energy officials released a list of how long it could take for power to be restored after a hurricane hits.

  • Category 1 (winds 74 to 95 mph): 7 to 10 days
  • Category 2 (winds 96 to 110 mph): 2 to 3 weeks
  • Category 3 (winds 111 to 130 mph): 3 to 5 weeks
  • Category 4 (winds 131 to 155 mph): 4 to 6 weeks
  • Category 5 (winds 156 mph and up): 6 to 8 weeks

CenterPoint Energy has linemen and tree trimmers from around the country on standby to help after a hurricane strikes.

It is not always possible to tell if a downed power line is electrically energized. CenterPoint Energy officials said to never touch a power line and report any downed line to them by calling 713-207-2222.

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