UI Offers Holiday Safety and Efficiency Tips

ORANGE and EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Nov. 26, 2019 — United Illuminating (UI), Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG) and Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG) wish customers a happy holiday season, and offer tips to ensure their celebrations are filled with safety, comfort and joy.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International and other industry groups, fires and injury-causing incidents increase during the holiday season as people decorate their homes, set their hearths alight and assemble feasts for family and friends. The companies also offered advice on managing energy use to avoid entering the New Year with unexpected high bills.

“A safe, warm home is the greatest gift we can offer to family and friends as we gather for the holidays,” said Tony Marone, president and CEO of UI, SCG and CNG, which are subsidiaries of Orange-based AVANGRID, Inc. “You can help keep the season joyful by acting now to head off preventable accidents and bill surprises.”

The companies offered these tips.

Decking the Halls:

  • Dry Christmas tree limbs and electric lighting can be a dangerous combination. Keep your live tree fresh and cut its base at a 45-degree angle before you put it in its base, so it can absorb more water. Give it water daily and remove it promptly after the holiday, or when it becomes dry.
  • Consider LED decorative lights, which produce less heat and use less energy than traditional lights. The cooler-burning LEDs can reduce the drying effect on the tree. You can find LED lights and other energy efficient appliances at uismartsolutions.com.
  • Carefully inspect cords, plugs and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items. Look for the UL label on the packaging, showing that they’ve been factory tested.
  • Push wires toward the center of the tree, out of reach of children and pets, and clip them securely to the branches.
  • Keep flammable decorations away from the tree's lights. Also make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
  • Run cords away from high-traffic areas to prevent tripping hazards. Never run cords under rugs, since they can overheat.
  • Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees that are not flame-resistant.
  • Turn off decorative lights before going to sleep and when you leave home. Consider using a programmable timer to control displays.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the instructions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and can cause an electrical fire.

Around the House:

  • Plan escape routes for your family in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • In the kitchen, keep close watch on your stovetop, grill and oven while in use. Never use them for heating.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area and in every bedroom. Install a carbon monoxide detector outside every sleeping area. Test monthly, and replace batteries twice a year, when you reset your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
  • If you use natural gas, learn the signs of a leak and what to do. To learn more, go to aga.org/natural-gas/safe/smell-gas or visit your gas company’s website.

Outdoors:

  • Before decorating outside your home, look up and around the area to identify overhead lines and other hazards. Keep yourself, ladders and tools far away from overhead lines, as well as anything that might be in contact with them.
  • Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures, and inspect them for damage.
  • Avoid piling leaves, snow or yard debris against utility meters or furnace vents, to ensure they operate properly and can be easily accessed.

Customers can monitor their holiday energy use and learn how to save during the holidays — and year-round — using the Energy Analyzer on the UI, SCG and CNG websites.

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