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Stay away from the big green box

Stay away from the big green box

August 13, 2019 – They are big, green, and sit in residential neighborhoods. These big green boxes are called pad-mounted transformers and caution must be used around them.

What are pad-mounted transformers?
Pad-mounted transformers work in the same capacity as the transformers (gray cans) on the top of electric poles do. In essence, they convert higher-voltage electricity to a lower voltage so that it is safe and useful for your home. The only difference is that pad-mounted transformers work with underground power lines while transformers on the pole work directly with the overhead electric lines.

How can I stay safe around pad-mounted transformers?
Pad-mounted transformers are locked and marked as dangerous. These big green boxes should never be used as benches, nor should kids play on or near them. Landscaping should not be planted around these boxes as power linemen may need to access them safely and easily, and any roots could interfere with underground wires. Never, ever dig anywhere near a pad-mounted transformer. It is just as important for people to be safe around underground power lines and pad-mounted transformers as it is to be safe around overhead power lines.

For more ways to stay safe around electricity, visit lcec.net.

Call for LCEC Environmental Funding Award Applications

August 6, 2019 – September 1 is the deadline to apply for LCEC’s 2019 Environmental Funding Awards. To apply for an environmental funding award from LCEC, organizations can email pr@lcec.net to receive an application. Interested organizations must meet certain criteria to be considered for the award including being located within LCEC service territory, funding utilized for projects/programs related to the environment and the utility industry, and having a demonstrated need for funds. Funding is awarded twice a year with deadlines happening in March and September. Nearly $100,000 has been awarded since the program’s inception in 2013. LCEC’s Environmental Funding Award Program is just one of the many ways that LCEC positively impacts and supports wildlife and the environment.

Tips for evacuating before a storm

July 30, 2019 – So far so good this storm season, but there is no way to predict what Mother Nature has in store for the remainder of this unnerving time of year. If a storm does rear its ugly head and you live in a mobile home, coastal area, flood prone area or a high-rise, evacuation is worth considering. If a storm poses a large enough risk to life, mandatory evacuations could happen. Below are tips to keep in mind should you evacuate:

• Evacuate during daylight hours if possible and make sure your home is secure before you leave.
• Map your evacuation route and use routs specified by authorities.
• Notify family and neighbors that you are evacuating.
• Turn off electricity at your main breaker or consider unplugging all of your electrical devices, except for your refrigerator.
• Take photo identification, emergency kit and important documents.
• Fill jugs of water to fill the freezer.
• Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting.

For more storm-related tips, lists and tools, download LCEC’s Hurricane Guide from lcec.net.

Preparing your home for a storm

July 23, 2019 – We are in the midst of storm season. By now, you should have your family’s disaster plan and kit ready to go if the situation calls for it. But is your home prepared if a storm comes to SWFL? The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. Below are tips to help you prepare your home:

• Protect your windows with hurricane shutters or plywood.
• Trim dead branches from trees and shrubs around your home, avoiding those close to power lines.
• Clear your patio and yard of furniture, potted plants, toys and other debris.
• Anchor items that cannot be taken inside.
• Turn off and unplug the TV before lowering an antenna or satellite dish.
• Protect your electronics with surge protection devices.
• Reinforce your garage door at its weakest points.
• Inspect doors and add extra locks or slide bolts.
• Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.

For everything you need to know before, during and after a storm, download the LCEC Hurricane Guide from lcec.net.

To tint or not to tint home windows and glass

July 16, 2019 – In sunny Southwest Florida, 30 percent of summer cooling costs are attributed to glass and windows. From sliding glass doors to skylights to regular windows in your home, all glass conducts heat. LCEC energy experts remind everyone that:

• Significant air-conditioning savings can be attained by blocking solar heat before it reaches the windows, or by using special heat-reflecting glass or heat-reflecting glass coatings also known as residential window tint.
• Reflective glass or residential window tint should be rated to reflect at least 65 percent of all solar heat to be considered efficient in Southwest Florida.
• Awnings, storm shutters, shade trees and porch or lanai roofs are all very effective in blocking solar heat.
• East or west windows are the main source of intrusive heat. It is recommended to use shading devices and tint on east and west windows since they experience many hours of direct sunlight.
• South-facing windows experience a great deal of direct sunlight in the winter months when the sun rides lower in the sky. In the summer, south-facing windows are largely shaded by the overhanging soffit of the roof.
• Skylights experience many more hours of direct sunlight than any vertical window and should be avoided if possible. Existing skylights can be tinted, covered, blocked or shaded to lessen their load on the air conditioner.
• When upgrading windows, consider energy-efficient features such as double-pane, low-E glass as well as type of frame material.

Residential window tint is available online and at many major home improvement stores. Along with detailed application instructions, there are many tutorials online to help you apply residential tint yourself. For more ways to save, visit lcec.net.

LCEC welcomes Director of Electric Operations

July 9, 2019 – LCEC welcomed Harold Taylor as its new Director of Electric Operations. In this role, Taylor will be responsible for directing the planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance of LCEC infrastructure including transmission, substation, and distribution facilities. Additionally, Taylor will play a key role in the development of corporate strategic and vision planning, and policy and procedure decision-making processes. Taylor comes to LCEC from Georgia with nearly 30 years’ experience in power supply working primarily for utilities and also as a consultant.

Keep fireworks away from power lines

July 2, 2019 – Independence Day is right around the corner! With so many ways to celebrate around Southwest Florida, you likely have big plans for the occasion! If you are planning on doing a firework display of your own, LCEC reminds you to proceed with caution by:

Keeping fireworks away from power lines!!
Fireworks should only be lit in open areas where there are absolutely no power lines in sight. Should a firework accidentally come in contact with an overhead power line, call 911 and your electric utility immediately! If you are an LCEC customer, you should call 239-656-2300.

Fireworks are as dangerous as they are beautiful!
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 9,300 fireworks-related injuries happen per year! This injuries range from people misusing everything from large-scale fireworks to firecrackers, rockets and sparklers. Sparklers alone burn at almost 2,000 degrees!

Additional safety tips from the U.S. Product Safety Commission include:
• Children should never, ever help adults with fireworks. Do not give children fireworks or sparklers.
• Firework spectators should be at least 20 feet away and not downwind of fireworks.
• Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from anything flammable.
• Read all instructions on fireworks!
• Keep water close by in care of fire.
• If your fireworks don’t light or malfunction, never try to relight!

There are many dazzling firework shows happening around town that are run by professionals and supervised by firefighters. These shows are a safe and fun way to end Independence Day with a beautiful bang!

LCEC wishes you and yours a safe and happy Independence Day!

Staying cool without breaking the bank

June 25, 2019 – When the outside temperature is 99+ degrees, it is tempting to crank down the AC and stay indoors. Remember that when cooling your home, every degree does count…or should we say cost! LCEC recommends setting your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit when home. Each degree below adds 8 to 12 percent to your cooling costs (which accounts for 50 to 60 percent of your electric bill during summer months). While away from your home for more than two hours, LCEC recommends setting the thermostat at 83 degrees Fahrenheit. If these recommendations send chills down your spine (and not cool, refreshing chills), consider the following tips to beat the heat without breaking the bank:

• Drink lots of water. Being hydrated helps you feel at your best.
• Dress wisely. Tank tops, shorts, flip flops. Tis the season to dress lightly!
• Battery powered fans. Power these puppies up to stay cool without affecting your energy usage.
• Take cool showers and baths. Cool water makes a world of difference when you are hot!
• Hit the pool. Jump in, cool off and burn some calories while beating the heat.
• Head for cool spots. Visit the mall, movie theater or museum for an outing in air conditioning that you are not paying for!

For more ways to save on your electric bill, visit lcec.net.

Blinking lights demystified

June 18, 2019 – Annoying as it can be, blinking lights or a series of momentary outages is actually a good thing! Blinking lights or momentary outages are the result of some type of disturbance that is detected on the electric system. The cause can range from an automobile accident to a squirrel, bird or tree branch. When lights blink, it is an indication that LCEC protective devices are operating properly. When something contacts an energized line, it creates a fault or short circuit. If the fault or short circuit is temporary, power is restored in the blink of an eye. Although it is a very quick process, it may cause lights to flicker and digital clocks to reset. The protective device will sometimes operate more than once to clear the line of the disturbance and avoid a prolonged outage. If the line is not cleared, it will be de-energized to protect equipment from damage and ensure safety. As much as we wish that we could control the environment and the weather, we can’t. However, we can and do work diligently to ensure reliable electricity for our customers. If these momentary blinks are driving you momentarily crazy, you might consider using electric devices that have battery backups. To learn more about LCEC’s focus on reliability, visit lcec.net.

Trimming now can help prevent prolonged power outages

June 11, 2019 – We have had a very wet start to storm season. Although we all have our fingers (and toes) crossed for a calm storm season, there is no telling what might come our way. While LCEC is prepared for anything Mother Nature has to bring, we urge all residents to trim overgrown trees and branches growing near power lines. Vegetation poses a serious risk to power lines during high-wind storms. As a guideline, there should be an 8- to 10-foot clearance on either side between tree branches and power lines, and there should be a 10-foot clearance between the top of trees and the primary power line. Any branches within this range near power lines should be pruned or removed. Keep the following in mind when trimming vegetation:

• Do not remove or trim branches that are touching power lines. Touching a tree that is in contact with a power line can lead to serious injuries or death. If a tree touching a power line is burning or sparking, please contact LCEC immediately at 239-656-2300.
• When trimming or cutting trees, be sure they fall away from power lines.
• Trim dead or weak branches from the trees around the home even if they are far away from power lines. Strong winds could make these branches deadly projectiles.

If you feel uneasy trimming vegetation around your home, residents are urged to hire a licensed tree trimming company that is certified to work around power lines. At LCEC, we too utilize professional trimmers, trained in safety practices to trim trees in utility easements or trees contacting power lines. They trim trees along power lines on a regular maintenance cycle. We also respond to specific customer requests if trees in the area pose an immediate threat to safety or to the reliability of electric service. We thank all residents in advance for their vegetation efforts. Every bit of preplanning helps when it comes to storm season!

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