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MidAmerican Energy Provides Planting Season Safety Tips

For more information, contact:
Tina Potthoff, Media Relations Manager, at 515-281-2585
Abby Bottenfield, Media Relations Representative, at 515-281-2621

DES MOINES, Iowa – (May 17, 2013) – Planting season is in full swing across MidAmerican Energy Company’s service territory. MidAmerican Energy offers the following reminders to help keep customers safe as they begin to plant crops in the field or conduct projects around the home:

Power Line Safety
  • Be aware of overhead power lines when planting. Never attempt to raise or move a power line. If equipment comes in contact with a utility line or other piece of electrical equipment, call MidAmerican Energy immediately at 800-799-4443.
  • Watch for guy wires, which support utility poles. Damaging a guy wire can weaken a pole and bring live power lines down, creating an extremely hazardous situation.
  • Do not erect fence wire along the same route as an overhead line, and do not string fence wire where it may come into contact with an overhead line.
  • If farming, lower farm equipment to transport level when near power lines. Know the height of planters in the fold-up position; the equipment may be taller than during field use. Always make sure an auger system has a good ground connection.
  • If a tractor comes in contact with a power line, remain seated until help arrives. If there is danger of fire, jump as far away from the tractor as possible and keep your feet together when landing. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Many injuries occur when equipment operators attempt to get back on or touch equipment after dismounting.

Electrical Safety

  • Make sure all outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets with faceplates.
  • If there are any doubts about the state of electrical circuits, wiring or equipment on a farm or property, have a licensed electrician inspect them.
  • Ground the entire electrical system, and protect ground wires and rods from damage.

Digging Safety
  • Customers are required to contact 811 with excavation information at least 48 hours before beginning any digging project. Failing to abide by this law could result in serious injury or property damage.
  • There are many instances in which 811 should be called, including putting stakes, posts or fences into the ground; planting trees or shrubs; installing terracing or other landscaping; installing drain tile; putting in a new driveway; building additions to a home, including decks or patios; or installing a water drainage or septic system. Most routine garden activities do not require a call.
  • The person or company responsible for the physical excavation at the site must make the call; 811 is a free service. After an 811 call has been placed, personnel will notify facility operators, who will locate and mark underground electrical, gas, communications/television, water and sewer facilities. Privately owned underground facilities are not marked by utility companies.
  • In the event of physical contact with or damage to underground facilities, customers should call emergency services at 911 and then call 811 to report the incident. Even the smallest dent or scratch to an underground facility may result in serious structural failure and the possibility of dangerous future incidents.
  • If 811 is not available in a specific location, customers should call one of the following numbers:
    • Illinois – 800-892-0123
    • Iowa – 800-292-8989
    • Nebraska – 800-331-5666
    • South Dakota – 800-781-7474

For more information on planting safety tips, visit www.midamericanenergy.com/safety.

MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa’s largest energy company, provides electric service to 734,000 customers and natural gas service to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanenergy.com.