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Press Release

11/15/2011

Harvesting citrus, pruning trees, power lines don't mix

Use caution when working in trees near power lines
 
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (November 15, 2011) – It’s that time of year in Florida. In the coming months, citrus trees will be ripe for harvesting. The state is a world leader in citrus production, with hundreds of millions of pounds of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and tangelos gleaned each year. On the community front, the Polk County Extension Service estimates that in Central Florida, 30 percent of homeowners have citrus trees on their property. In addition to citrus, avocado, mango, and other fruit-bearing trees are full of produce in yards across the state. Progress Energy encourages homeowners to be particularly aware of trees growing near power lines as they use fruit picking poles to harvest this bounty.

“Tree limbs can conduct electricity,” said Progress Energy Florida Senior Forester Rich Alexander. “When entangled, trees and wires are dangerous, full of electrical power that can hurt you. We encourage homeowners to be extremely cautious around power lines, especially when using tools such as tree saws, citrus pickers and ladders. Homeowners should treat all electric lines as not being insulated and dangerous to touch.”

Progress Energy offers some tips for homeowners to help avoid a dangerous situation:

  • Never stick a fruit picker or long-handled saw into a tree without checking for power lines. Electricity is always trying to go somewhere. It goes easily through materials like metal, water, trees, the ground and things with water in them, like animals and PEOPLE.
  • Never move any large object without first looking up. Many things around you can be dangerous if they touch electric wires. Metal extension ladders present particular hazards because of their widespread use and because they are excellent conductors of electricity. Always read and heed ladder-use safety labels.
  • Look for power lines before climbing or pruning trees. Check first before you climb a tree to make sure there are no power lines there. Even if wires aren't touching the tree, they could touch after your weight is added to the branch. Remember, all electrical equipment can be dangerous. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations that set out employee safety guidelines require that untrained employees and equipment being used by those employees stay 10 feet away from power lines. This is a good safe guideline to apply in our everyday lives.


For more information about safety around the home and in your yard, visit Progress Energy’s web site, www.progress-energy.com and click on “Safety Information” under the “For Your Home” tab.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit http://www.progress-energy.com/.

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Media contact: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line (866) 520-6397
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