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NYSEG, RG&E offer safety tips ahead of extreme cold


Thu, Feb 2nd 2023 08:40 am

New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) are reminding customers to take measures to stay safe and warm with extreme cold weather moving into New York beginning Thursday, Feb. 2, and lasting into Saturday, Feb. 4. Temperatures are expected to plunge into the single digits on Thursday evening and remain through Saturday. Temperatures will be especially dangerous during the overnight hours, potentially falling below zero. More mild conditions are forecast for Sunday.

NYSEG and RG&E warn that the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other hazards can increase during frigid weather. The companies urge customers to take measures to stay safe during the cold snap.

“With the forecast signaling extremely cold temperatures beginning Thursday evening, we encourage our customers to take some simple, practical steps to keep their friends, family and homes safe throughout this cold snap,” said NYSEG and RG&E President and CEO Trish Nilsen. “We’re preparing for the weather, and we advise you to, as well. These cold temperatures can become dangerous quickly. We want customers to be aware of the proper safety precautions to take.”

NYSEG and RG&E offered the following tips:

Home Generators

Any generator that plugs into a home’s electrical system must be installed by a certified electrician. Always follow the generator safety guidelines, such as those listed in this publication when operating a generator. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of a home, outside all sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year. If you suspect a natural gas leak, get up, get out and get away. Then immediately call NYSEG at 800-572-1121, RG&E at 800-743-1702 or 911 from a safe location.


Never use a stove or oven to stay warm. Only space heaters intended for indoor use should be operated indoors or in enclosed spaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Space Heaters

Use only space heaters that have been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and never use a device designed for outdoor use indoors. Place the space heater on a level surface away from foot traffic, at least 3 feet from combustible materials. Inspect the cord for fraying and, after plugging it in, periodically feel the cord near the outlet to make sure the plastic is not getting hot. Do not run the space heater cord under a rug or carpeting, and never use an extension cord for a space heater. Keep children and pets away, and turn off the space heater when leaving the area.

More space heater safety information can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy website, at https://energy.gov/energysaver/portable-heaters.

Heating, Hot Water and Plumbing

Customers should keep exhaust vents, gas meters and regulators clear of snow and ice as they clean up after winter storms. Snow, ice and other debris can block exhaust vents for furnaces, water heaters and similar appliances, potentially causing toxic fumes and poisonous carbon monoxide to build up indoors.

Water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures may freeze and burst. Don’t ignore drips or odd noises from your heating system. Wrap exposed pipes in the basement with pipe insulation to help them retain heat and avoid freezing.

Report a Power Interruption

To report a power interruption, contact NYSEG at 1-800-572-1131 or RG&E at 1-800-743-1701.

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