Electrical Safety Authority Advises Ontario Homeowners to Check for Electrical Damage after Storm
September 22, 2018
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is advising Ontarians in areas most affected by yesterday's tornado and high winds to take a moment and check for damage to their home or property's electrical system. Even if power has been restored or never went out, your electrical mast may have been pulled away from the building, or there may be sagging overhead electrical wires where they connect to your home. These could be shock or fire hazards and must be repaired before power can be restored to your home.
Looking for Damage to Electrical Service
- Typically, a homeowner's ownership of electrical equipment begins where the wires attach to the house. This includes the electrical service mast and the wires in it;
- Check to see if the mast is pulled away from the wall, broken, or detached from the meter base. Look for wires sagging down;
- If you see this or suspect any damage, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to check it and make necessary repairs. A list of all Licensed Electrical Contractors in Ontario, as well as a search feature to find a Licensed Electrical Contractor near you, can be found at www.esasafe.com.
Getting Repairs Done
Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can be hired to do residential electrical repairs. They will take out permits with the Electrical Safety Authority so that inspection can occur and an official record of the work is generated. Hiring a handyman or anyone other than a Licensed Electrical Contractor will result in delays in having your power restored.
- Once you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor:
- The contractor will file for a permit with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) so there is a record of the work;
- When contractors complete repairs, they will notify ESA and the ESA Inspector will confirm work has been done safely;
- The contractor will get a copy of the ESA certificate of inspection. Homeowners, you should get a copy of this from the contractor or ESA for your insurance company.
Portable generators can provide security and comfort during power outages. However, they can create electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly.
Follow these tips to ensure you're using your generator safely:
- Never use a generator indoors because they produce fatal carbon monoxide fumes; set them up outside away from windows, doors or vents to your house or your neighbor's house;
- If you're buying a generator, make sure it has a mark from an approved certification agency. Marks can be found on ESA's website www.esasafe.com
- Don't attach a portable generator directly to your home's electricity system. It could cause power to flow back into the power grid and electrocute you or a utility worker, or damage the system;
- If you want to permanently connect your generator to your home's system this requires an electrical permit. The generator should be connected by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Cleaning up after the Storm
When attempting to clean up after the storm please follow these tips:
- Downed powerlines may be live and are extremely dangerous. Stay back at least 10 metres (33 feet). Electricity can travel through water and the ground around powerlines;
- Call 911 and the local electricity distribution company to report any downed lines. Remain well back;
- Please wait until the power is disconnected or powerlines are repaired before starting yard cleanup – downed powerlines may be hidden beneath debris and tree branches.
For more information on these and other electrical safety topics go to www.esasafe.com.
About the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario with specific responsibilities under the Electricity Act and the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act. As part of its mandate, ESA is responsible for administering regulation in four key areas: the Ontario Electrical Safety Code; licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians; electrical distribution safety; and electrical product safety.
Electrical Safety Authority