Wintertime Increases the Risk of Electrical Mishaps (A Letter from the President)


Think of how electricity impacts our lives, from powering lights and heating systems to providing hot water, refrigeration, cooking meals and energizing all the electronic devices we depend on.

Chris Jones
Middle Tennessee Electric Corporation

Next, count the times you will flip a switch, boot up a computer, push a control button or plug in a power cord.

We not only use electricity daily, we are near it constantly. Safety is an important part of Middle Tennessee Electric’s mission. We are dedicated to providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to power the lives of our member and communities.

Especially in winter, safety should be at the forefront of our thinking. Demand for power during frigid periods can mean larger bills, but do you realize it also increases the risk of accidents, fires and injuries?

MTEMC, your trusted Energy Advisor, wants to be your source for safety advice. From blazes involving ovens, stovetops or portable space heaters (improper use or malfunction) to shock from extension cords, electrical outlets and faulty power equipment, the danger in the home associated with electricity is greater this time of year.

When it comes to energy efficiency, we urge members to conduct home audits to identify structural, mechanical or behavioral reasons for wasted kilowatts. We urge the same approach for electrical safety.

Your safety audit should begin in the kitchen. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and injuries. So, it’s important that oven and stovetop electric elements and connections be in proper working order. Smaller kitchen appliances also need to be checked out; and please, don’t let distractions cause you to forget a pot or frying pan on the stove.

Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires. Space heaters present higher risk relative to usage than central heating systems. These devices are meant for zone heating and should not be left unattended. Care should be taken in placement to avoid flammable materials or damp areas. Heaters should be inspected before use.

Electrical outlets and in-home wiring also pose risks. Greater demand for power puts more burden on the home’s wiring system, increasing the possibility of failure. Receiving a shock when you touch an outlet or switch is not normal. Have it checked by a certified electrician, and consider installation of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

MTEMC regularly reminds member about safety around high-voltage lines and what to do during power outages. We live with electricity in our residences and need to be mindful of home safety, too.

Pages 20-23 of this issue contain more information about winter electrical safety, both in the home and outside. Our website ( is another resource, and we are only a phone call away.

For more news and information about your cooperative, visit Tennessee Magazine.


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