Safety & Service
Service Installation & Upgrades
When making application for new electric service, customers should use the appropriate application form, either the Residential Service Application or the Commercial/Industrial Service Application. After application for service is received Citizens’ Electric will contact you, and if necessary, will schedule a field visit to complete the service design.
All Customer owned equipment shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the provisions of the latest edition of the National Electric Code. Citizens’ Electric will not connect new service until the Customer owned equipment has been inspected by an approved electrical inspector and a certificate of inspection has been received.
Citizens’ Electric will furnish and maintain the appropriate meter, transformer, and service line from existing distribution lines to the point of service connection with the Customer’s equipment. Service extension rules may require a customer contribution in aid of construction.
Electricity, once a luxury, is now essential. Many households and businesses are investigating back-up power generators for use during an outage.
Generators are widely available in a range of sizes and configurations. Some come equipped with gas or diesel engines, with manual or automatic start. Others operate from the power take-off (PTO) attachment found on farm tractors. All generators have one thing in common — they produce electricity at levels high enough to cause injury, death and property damage. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used. But, like any other electrical equipment, they must be correctly sized and properly installed.
If you plan to provide enough electricity to power your normal electrical load during an outage, you will need a generator with a relatively large capacity. Generators are rated by the wattage they produce — usually expressed in kilowatts (kW) and are sized according to the loads they need to serve. Also important is the kind of service you receive, either single-phase or three-phase power. Most homes, small businesses and farms are supplied with single-phase 120/240 volt power.
Keeping It Safe
NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage since toxic carbon monoxide can accumulate. If you use a portable generator, plug appliances directly into the unit. DO NOT plug the generator into a wall outlet, as that allows electricity to travel out of the house and onto the electric lines. Emergency generators must be completely isolated from Citizens’ lines to avoid “back-feed” into our system. During an outage, line workers trying to restore power – or anyone who contacts a downed line – could be seriously injured or killed by back-feed from an improperly connected generator.
If you are connecting a generator to your wiring system, a special switch must be installed to transfer your load from the utility power supply to the standby generator. The switch, called a double-throw switch, is designed to prevent a generator from feeding back onto Citizens’ lines and transformers. A properly connected switch makes it impossible to connect the utility power source and the generator at the same time. The double-throw switch is required by the National Electric Code when directly connecting an auxiliary power source.
Remember, the double-throw switch and wiring will carry the entire electrical load for the building it serves when it’s connected to Citizens’ lines during normal operation. These switches, like the generators they connect, are available in several configurations and power ratings. Choose a switch matched to your service configuration considering factors such as amperage and phase – not one matched to the generator output.
If you have questions concerning the safe installation and connection of an emergency back-up generator, contact Citizens’ Electric or your generator dealer. Together we can help you select and design a system that will safely provide temporary power without creating a safety hazard.
Stay Clear of Downed Wires!Do not assume that because your power is out that the line is dead!
Please call 570-524-2231 immediately if you see a downed line or are experiencing a power outage.
Causes of Outages
Electric service can be interrupted by many events. Lightning strikes from thunderstorms, high wind, heavy snowfall or ice can cause major disruptions. Other events might include:
- Automobile accidents involving power poles
- Animals such as squirrels shorting out power equipment
- Digging into an underground line
Customers should prepare for outages ahead of time to help minimize the impact.
Preparing for Outages
Put together an emergency kit and keep it accessible. Include several flashlights, a battery powered radio or TV, and spare batteries. Test the flashlights and batteries on a regular basis to ensure proper operation when needed. Candles or lanterns fueled by propane or white gas are not recommended for indoor emergency lighting. A fully stocked kit should include first aid supplies, bottled water and nonperishable foods for extended outages. If you rely on a well pump for your water and a known major storm is approaching, it’s a good idea to fill some jugs for drinking water as well the bathtub for washing up and flushing the toilet.
If you have a generator you should follow all safety procedures for its use. Never run the generator inside any part of a building or garage. Never connect the generator into your circuit breaker or fuse box – always plug appliances directly into the generator outlets or connect it through a Company approved double-throw disconnect switch. Back-feed from even a very small generator can be deadly if it reaches Citizens’ Electric’s linemen. Generator back-feed has electrocuted linemen.
Lightning strikes from thunderstorms can cause surges in your home’s electrical wiring. To prevent damage, unplug devices such as computers, microwaves, TVs and stereos. Don’t overlook disconnecting the telephone and cable TV lines from any electronic equipment. Outages will prevent your home from being heated so be sure to have blankets available. If you use an alternative source of heat such as a wood burning stove or kerosene heater, be sure to read and follow all safety precautions concerning their operation.
Refrigerators and freezers will normally retain the cold and prevent food spoilage for more than 24 hours, but only if the doors stay closed. Do not open the doors unnecessarily. If you have a family member using electrically powered medical equipment such as an oxygen generator, be sure to have backup supplies on hand, and a plan for moving to another location until your power is restored.
If your power goes out, check your circuit breakers or fuses first. If they are okay, call Citizens’ Electric Company at 570-524-2231. We maintain a 24-hour call center to take your calls and dispatch repair crews. We will ask for your name, address, phone number, and a description of your problem. Other pertinent observations or information is always helpful.
Shutting off the circuit breakers to furnaces, electric heaters, refrigerators and freezers and all but a few lights will lessen the load on the power lines and make restoring service easier for Citizens’ Electric repair crews. Once the lights come back on you can turn all your breakers on.
Outage restoration follows a well-prepared plan. Certain critical services such as hospitals, elderly care facilities, fire stations, police headquarters, emergency management centers, water filtration plants, wastewater treatment facilities and other similar facilities are given a high restoration priority. The balance of the system is restored based on getting the greatest number of customers back on over the shortest period of time.
From computers, TV’s and alarm systems to microwave ovens and smart appliances, our homes and offices are filled with devices that were only dreams of futurists long ago. Most of these popular and labor-saving tools are controlled by microprocessors – tiny computer chips and circuit boards. These devices operate on precise voltages and are more sensitive to variations in utility power supply than appliances from a generation ago.
When there is a momentary power interruption, the microprocessors lose their “memory” – or internal data. Most interruptions are so brief that they went unnoticed years ago. However, today’s electronics can be disrupted by even the shortest interruption.
You may find them annoying, but those digits flashing “12:00” on your microwave or clock radio mean that one of the safety devices installed by Citizens’ Electric to protect you and the power system has done its job.
The device, called a recloser, acts like a self-resetting circuit breaker. When a short circuit caused by a tree branch, small animal or weather-related problem occurs, the recloser “opens” and interrupts the flow of power for a moment on the section of line it protects. The recloser waits a short time and “recloses”, restoring power to the line.
If the short circuit condition is gone, the recloser stays closed and power continues to flow to your home. If the problem persists after multiple tries, the recloser “locks open” to help prevent property damage or personal injury until the problem can be investigated. Reclosers and the momentary interruptions of power they provide are essential to the safe delivery of electricity. Most of the time, these momentary interruptions allow power to be successfully restored without an extended outage. Unfortunately, they may also cause your clocks to blink.
It is important to remember that power lines are sited through wooded areas, near roadways and across rivers. The lines are constantly exposed to the elements, wildlife and other conditions that present challenges for providing interruption-free operation.
There are steps you can take to minimize the inconvenience caused by momentary interruptions. These steps can be as simple as purchasing appliances that have a battery back-up system built in to maintain the clock. Other electric loads such as computers, printers and fax machines can be plugged into an inexpensive uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is essentially a plug-in battery back-up and will keep your equipment operating during short power outages, providing an opportunity to save data before it is lost.
Tree Safety & Planning
In order to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers, trees must be properly maintained and kept clear of electric power lines. Trees growing to close to electric lines are one of the primary sources of prolonged power outages, as well as annoying blinks. Trees that grow too close to power lines can be a real danger to children who climb them. Limbs and branches that make contact with the lines may become energized, creating a potentially hazardous situation.
To help maintain safe, reliable electric service to our customers, Citizens’ Electric has a right of way clearing and trimming program to control brush and trees in the vicinity of our power lines. When Citizens’ Electric identifies an area that needs trimming, our contractors’ representative will attempt to contact affected property owners to explain the extent of trimming planned. This contact could be by personal visit, phone call or a door tag left on your door a minimum of a few days before work will be done. This gives the owner the opportunity to contact us with any questions or concerns. The owner may also request the tree to be evaluated for possible removal at this time.
Our line clearance contractors are trained and qualified to meet OSHA and ANSI standards. The contractor will use nationally approved trimming techniques and procedures established by the International Society of Arboriculture and the Tree Care Industry Association. Citizens’ also requires contractors to have a certified arborist on staff.
Topping or Rounding Over Trees
The term roundover describes an unhealthy practice of trimming a tree to the desired height and sculpting it into a ball. Topping is a method which removes an excessive amount of the tree’s foliage. Rounding over or topping are not considered proper pruning practices. They are damaging to the tree and ineffective. Masses of upright shoots sprout from the wound site and grow very quickly back into the lines.
Pruning Methods Utilized by Citizens’ Electric
All trees will be trimmed by utilizing an industry-recognized best practice known as directional pruning. Every effort will be made to trim back to a lateral that is at least 1/3 the diameter of the limb being removed. In addition, this lateral will extend away from the conductor. A minimum of cuts will be utilized to achieve required clearances. To provide adequate clearance around power lines, some trees require more pruning than others.
Wherever possible, all trimming cuts are made to direct future growth and sprouting away from the power lines. Live branches are removed by making cuts as close as possible to the branch collar. Precautions are taken to avoid stripping or tearing of bark when cutting large-diameter limbs.
Dead wood is not removed unless it either endangers the reliability of the line or the Company’s designated representative authorizes such action. Dead branches are removed by making cuts as close as possible to the living tissues that surround the dead branch at the base.
Where practical, cuts are primarily restricted to large diameter branches made well within the crown. Shaping through the use of many cuts of small diameter branches in the outer crown is avoided.
After a tree is pruned or removed, small tree limbs and branches are chipped; wood that is too large for the chipper will be left on the property and is the responsibility of the property owner to dispose of.
Acceptable Trimming Methods
Every effort is made to trim trees by the following acceptable methods:
The American National Standard for Tree Care Operations (ANSI A300) – Tree, Shrub and Other Wood Plant Maintenance – Standard Practices and the International Society of Arboriculture Tree Pruning Guidelines
(A) Through Trimming – To be utilized when a tree is located under the conductors and the “top” branches must be trimmed back to lower the crown of the tree. This style of trimming should include the “V-Out” method, which gives proper clearance of wires that are running through or above the center of the tree.
(B) Side Trimming – To be utilized when the tree grows beside a conductor and the side branches extend into the zone around the conductors where it is desirous to be kept free of branches. In those cases when the parent stem of a tree is at the edge of the right-of-way, limbs protruding into the right-of-way should be removed at the branch bark collar on the main stem floating the top of the tree back away from the conductors.
For more information on utility pruning see:
Secondaries and Services
Citizens’ Electric Company does not routinely trim for services, however customers may request a field representative to review specific situations.
The application of wound dressing is no longer an acceptable practice in the arboriculture industry. Research shows no benefits in decay prevention and it may even cause harm. Therefore, we will not apply these products.
The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of Foresters have recognized Citizens’ Electric as a Tree Line USA utility since 2003. We were also acknowledged in 2001 with the Urban and Community Forestry Award for Industry Achievement. This award was given for promoting proper tree pruning, public education and funding our tree replacement program.
Citizens’ uses directional pruning techniques; these techniques were developed by the National Arborist Association and published by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Directional pruning is the accepted standard by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture.
PA One Call
“CALL 8-1-1 BEFORE YOU DIG”
If you’re thinking of installing a pool…building an addition…installing a deck or patio…planting or undertaking any project that will involve digging, check to see if there is anything under the ground.
Citizens’ Electric and other utilities including telephone, water, sewage, cable and natural gas bury many of their lines. You don’t want to damage them or risk injury or death.
Just one telephone call to the Pennsylvania One Call System (811) can tell you all you need to know. This non-profit organization has over 30 years’ experience helping both do-it-yourselfers and contractors get their digging projects off to a safe start.
Be sure to call at least three (3) working days before you plan to begin your project. Pennsylvania One Call System will run a computer look-up to identify and notify affected utilities. The utilities will respond by marking the location of their lines or informing the excavator of “no conflict” with the site.
Get your project off to a safe start. Before you dig, call Pennsylvania One Call System at 811.
Customer-Owned Small Generator Interconnection Requirements
If you are interested in connecting a small generator – such as a windmill, solar photovoltaic (SPV) project, biodigester or other facility – to Citizens’ Electric’s distribution system, we can help walk you through the process.
By completing the appropriate interconnection application, providing the requested information, and satisfying all applicable requirements, you can help to ensure a safe and reliable interconnection project.
Please complete the appropriate application and mail it to:
Citizens’ Electric Company
Attn: Engineering Dept.
1775 Industrial Blvd.
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Fees: The Pennsylvania PUC has approved the following standard application fees for small generator interconnection applications filed with PA EDCs. These fees are non refundable and must be included with your completed interconnection application.
Level 1 – $100.
Level 2 – $250 plus $1 per kW of the nameplate capacity rating of the customer-generator’s facility, plus the cost of any minor modifications to the electric distribution company’s distribution system or additional review if required.
Level 3 – $350 plus $2 per kW of the nameplate capacity rating of the customer-generator’s facility, plus the cost of any feasibility studies, system impact studies or facilities studies required.
Level 4 – Please contact Citizens’ Electric for additional information if submitting a Level 4 application.
If you have any questions, contact us at (570) 524-2231 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For additional information regarding customer-owned small generator interconnection, please see Citizens’ Electric’s Tariff – Rider B, Net Metering (page 69).