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Spokane, Wash., January 31// -- Avista has been notified by Edison Electric Institute, an organization representing the nation's investor-owned electric utilities, that a segment in NBC's "Fear Factor Couples" airing tonight requires contestants to stand near an electric power substation and receive a mild, "nuisance shock."
Avista wants to alert customers that there are no "nuisance" shocks. Any contact with electricity, whether in the home or outdoors, can be deadly. Customers are also reminded that electrical substations contain power lines and other electrical equipment that carry lethal currents of electricity, and at no time should anyone other than trained utility personnel be inside or near the fenced structures.
Avista urges customers never to enter a fenced substation. If a ball, toy or other object is accidentally tossed inside a substation, call Avista Utilities at (800) 227-9187, and a trained professional will retrieve it.
Viewers of the segment are reminded that these stunts were performed under the close supervision of medical and network staff, and should NOT be imitated under any other circumstances.
What is a substation?
A substation is an integral component of the electrical system and serves three purposes. First, substations include transformers that reduce transmission voltage, which can be 230,000 volts, to distribution voltage, which can be 13,000 to 35,000 volts.
Second, a substation will normally contain a "bus" that splits the distribution power off in multiple directions. From the substation, the distribution voltage is directed to homes and businesses via distribution feeders and then to smaller distribution transformers where the voltage is transformed to 120/240 volts for residential customers.
Third, substations include circuit breakers and switches so that components of the power system can be disconnected from the transmission grid or distribution lines if necessary.
Avista offers the following safety tips:
Electrical Safety Indoors
. Water and electricity are a deadly combination. Never use any electric appliance in the tub, shower or when standing on a wet surface. And, never touch an electric cord or appliance with wet hands.
. Do not overload electric outlets with too many plugs.
. Teach children not to play with cords or wall outlets. If you have small children, cover outlets with plastic safety caps.
. Never insert a metal object into an appliance, such as a toaster.
. Avoid using extension cords, especially to permanently connect a light or appliance. If an extension cord is used, don't plug two extension cords together and don't place it beneath a rug.
Electrical Safety Outdoors
. Never climb trees near power lines and never climb a utility pole or tower for any reason.
. Assume that all electrical lines are "hot" and energized.
. When working outside with ladders, antennas, irrigation pipe and long-handled tools, such as pool-cleaning equipment or tree pruners, always check to see if power lines are near.
. Never work within 10 feet of a power line.
. Teach children never to fly kites or model airplanes near electric power lines. If these objects become entangled in a power line, the string can become a conductor allowing electricity to flow to you.
For more safety information, visit www.avistautilities.com. Parents and their children should visit Wattson, the energy and safety watchdog, at www.avistautilities.com/wattson for kid-friendly tips on electrical safety.
Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses. Avista Utilities is a company operating division that provides service to 330,000 electric and 305,000 natural gas customers in four western states. Avista's non-regulated subsidiaries include Avista Advantage and Avista Energy. Avista Corp.'s stock is traded under the ticker symbol "AVA." For more information about Avista, please visit www.avistacorp.com.
Avista Corp. and the Avista Corp. logo are trademarks of Avista Corporation. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners.
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