Planning Home Renovations or Improvements? About 34 per cent of Torontonians Are

Before grabbing that shovel, Toronto Hydro reminds customers to think about power lines first

TORONTO, June 26, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a recent survey commissioned by Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited ("Toronto Hydro"),  34 per cent of city residents are planning some type of home improvement.  And of that, about the same say that their project will likely involve digging in the yard, and/or working around overhead power lines.  While most digging in the garden is safe, it's the digging around electrical equipment that can be dangerous.  Toronto Hydro strongly urges gardeners and renovators to take precautions around electrical infrastructure.

Awareness and education are critical in preventing tragedies from occurring.  Need a refresher?  See Toronto Hydro and City TV's Frankie Flower's tips for working around the home safely at http://youtu.be/DNnOUnZROyM

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
Depending on the neighbourhood, Toronto Hydro infrastructure may be located underground or overhead.  Many people forget to consider what's around and underground.

Overhead wires can be hidden by trees.  When doing work around the home things like ladders can cause injuries if they make contact with a power line. Customers should take notice and have power lines covered or de-energized.  Even if a contractor is doing the work, should an injury occur, the homeowner can be held responsible. Equally important is to remind children about overhead wires while playing with kites or other toys that fly (ie. remote control helicopters), and they should never climb hydro poles.  With underground infrastructure, Toronto Hydro has above-ground boxes and while safe to touch when closed, it's best to just tell them to stay clear altogether.

PEACE OF MIND - WHAT'S LURKING OVERHEAD AND UNDERGROUND?
Customers concerned about tree branches or shrubs around wires or equipment, should not attempt to clear it before consulting with Toronto Hydro.  Employees are trained arborists and will attempt to directionally prune the trees (train them to grow away for power lines) or provide guidance on choosing an arborist.

When digging, it's easy to confirm whether any underground infrastructure is present. Ontario One Call is a not-for-profit agency that offers a free locating service.  Requests need to be made five working days in advance and can be made by phone or at www.on1call.com

QUOTE - City TV's Frankie Flowers, Weather and Gardening Specialist

"Summer is about enjoying our outdoor spaces and knowing how to keep you and your family safe is the best way to enjoy Toronto outdoors!"

FACTS

  • Conducted by Leger Marketing in April 2012, the survey found:
    • 1 in 3 Toronto homeowners are planning to renovate or make home/yard improvements in the next 12 months;
    • Among those planning to do work around the home, 36 per cent will be digging or working around power lines;
    • 84 per cent of those surveyed had never heard of Ontario One Call; and
    • The vast majority (8 in 10) know that it's the law to notify utilities before they dig.
  • Customers can call 311 or Toronto Hydro forestry directly at 416-542-7800 regarding concerns with vines and trees around power lines.
  • Ontario One Call Ltd. facilitates excavator locate requests within the Province of Ontario and to notify the members with underground facilities in the vicinity of the dig site. This is a free service to homeowners.  For more information visit www.torontohydro.com, www.on1call.com  or call them directly at 1.800.400.2255.
  • For more safety tips and directions, visit the Toronto Hydro or the Electrical Safety Authority website.
  • Know what the spray painted markings on the road or sidewalk indentify? Hydro is red, Gas is yellow, Water is blue, and Telecommunications is orange.  The survey found that most don't know (60 to 80 per cent) what the different colours mean.

About Toronto Hydro
The principal business of the Corporation and its subsidiaries is the distribution of electricity by Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited. Toronto Hydro-Electric System owns and operates an electricity distribution system, which delivers electricity to approximately 709,000 customers located in the City of Toronto. It is the largest municipal electricity distribution company in Canada and distributes approximately 18% of the electricity consumed in the Province of Ontario.

The information in these materials is based on information currently available to Toronto Hydro Corporation and its affiliates (together hereinafter referred to as "Toronto Hydro"), and is provided for information purposes only.

SOURCE Toronto Hydro Corporation

For further information:

Twitter - twitter.com/torontohydro
Facebook - facebook.com/torontohydro
YouTube - youtube.com/torontohydro

Media contact:

Tanya Bruckmueller, Toronto Hydro-Electric System
tbruckmueller@torontohydro.com
W: 416-542-2621
C: 416-903-0440


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