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Message from The Manager

Steve Young

Weathering the storm

Natural disasters leave safety issues in their wake


FLOODS. WIND. RAIN. When Mother Nature wreaks havoc on the power grid, a host of hazards often follows. That makes safety—always a top priority for Hamilton County Electric Cooperative—a major concern even after a storm blows through.


Creating a culture of safety is incredibly important to electric co-ops because some of our employees face hazardous situations daily. We also want to ensure the safety of those we serve—our members.


Every region of the state deals with its own types of weather problems. Here’s a look at the most  common storm situations that create safety issues for your cooperative and its members.



Beyond the hazard that floodwaters pose to drivers, water can turn an already-tricky situation into a deadly one if you attempt to work with electrical equipment that’s wet or submerged.


Last year, when floods ravaged South Texas, electric co-ops lost precious infrastructure. Lineworkers had to improvise creative solutions to restore power needed by homeowners and businesses to pump out water and make repairs.


Because of the dangers, co-ops urged members to exercise caution and call a licensed electrician before beginning cleanup efforts. Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet until they’ve been examined by a qualified service repair dealer.

When high winds accompany rains that produce flooding,downed power lines are a real possibility. Stay away from water near power lines.


Tornadoes and High Winds
Tornadoes are common in Texas and can leave wide swaths of destruction behind—snapping utility poles like twigs and reducing transmission towers to heaps of twisted metal. Power outages can result.


Downed power lines pose the greatest electrical risk after a tornado or bout with high winds because you can’t tell whether they still are energized. Always assume downed power lines are live. Keep at least 35 feet away from downed lines and anything touching them.


If you find yourself in a situation where you’re close to downed lines, shuffle away with small steps, with your feet together, touching the ground at all times to prevent electrocution.


Prolonged power outages can spur increased use of portable generators, which can be deadly if misused. Most people get hurt by generators when they operate the machines too close to or even inside their homes, which allows carbon monoxide to filter throughout living areas. Most generators emit deadly levels of the gas within minutes.


In addition, if you plug your portable generator into a wall socket, it can threaten co-op lineworkers by producing backfeed that unexpectedly re-energizes power lines.


Backfeeding is a deadly serious issue for electric co-op lineworkers. Portable generators should never be plugged into a home’s wall outlet, and permanent generators must have a transfer switch installed. Call Hamilton County EC if you plan to install an emergency generator.


Hamilton County Electric Cooperative logo Hamilton County Electric Cooperative
420 North Rice or P.O. Box 753
Hamilton, TX 76531
Toll Free: (800) 595-3401
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