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Electrical Safety

Call Before You Dig

Before doing any type of digging, call the Palmetto Utility Protection Service (PUPS) at 811 to have underground utilities located. South Carolina law requires that utility companies be given 72 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to mark their lines. PUPS notifies Santee Cooper and other member utilities to locate their lines. For more information on PUPS or to submit an electronic locate ticket (e-notice), visit

Call 811 Before You Dig

Portable Generator Safety

Most power outages are short-lived and do not warrant the use of auxiliary power, but some homeowners use portable electric generators during extended outages. To ensure safety of all involved, electric generators should be operated according to strict guidelines:

  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions completely.
  • Never connect the portable generator to existing house wiring.
  • Connect the generator directly to appliances. Refer to owner's manual for specific instructions on load capacity, approved power cords, etc.
  • Operate generators outside; they emit harmful fumes and contain combustible fuel.
  • Add fuel to the generator only when it is not running and has had time to sufficiently cool.
  • Always properly ground the generator before operating. Refer to the owner's manual for specific instructions.

Downed Power Line Safety

• Never touch a downed power line or anything the line is touching. The line could still be live even if it doesn't appear to be energized. Call Santee Cooper at 1-888-769-7688 for assistance.

• Never try to move a downed power line.

• Never drive over downed power lines. If a power line makes contact with vehicle as a result of an accident, do not get out. If it is necessary to exit, avoid touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Shuffle your feet rather than taking large steps to minimize the chance of electricity flowing through the ground and then through you.

Overhead Power Line Safety

• Overhead power lines are usually bare and not insulated. When using or carrying long objects (e.g. ladders, pruning tools, swimming pool poles, antennas, pipes, etc.) be aware of overhead power lines, and do not allow objects to touch them.

• Always check for overhead power lines before launching a sailboat or raising its mast.

• Never climb trees near overhead power lines.

• Kites, model airplanes, drones, etc. should never be flown near overhead power lines. Do not attempt to retrieve objects that get caught in power lines, and always use non-metallic string or cord to fly kites.

• Never climb utility structures (such as poles) or enter substations.

Underground Power Line Safety

In areas with underground power lines, there is often pad-mounted equipment located along rights-of-way. Unless it's been damaged, this equipment is normally safe. Regardless, do not allow children to play on or around these objects. Stay away from damaged or open equipment and notify Santee Cooper immediately by calling 1-888-769-7688.

Santee Cooper needs to have direct access to the equipment in the event of a power outage or to perform maintenance. If you plant shrubs or other vegetation nearby, please allow 10 ft. of space on the sides with doors and 3 ft. of space on the other sides. If you have any questions, call or stop by your local retail office.

Crane Safety

It is required that cranes operate no closer than 10 ft. from overhead power lines for voltages up to 50 kV; cranes should keep an additional 4 in. of clearance for every 1 kV over 50 kV.

Cranes shall not approach within 20 ft. of overhead electric lines until the crane operator has contacted Santee Cooper to discuss their operations (in accordance with OSHA rule 29 CFR 1926.1408). If Santee Cooper determines the lines involved are operating below 50 kV, work may be allowed to proceed with an approach distance of no closer than 10 ft. from the lines. 

If a crane contacts a power line, the operator should avoid leaving the equipment as long as contact is maintained. If someone must exit a crane while it is still in contact with a power line, the person should avoid touching the equipment and the ground at the same time. Shuffle your feet instead of taking large steps to minimize the chance of electricity flowing through the ground and then through your body.