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AEP Texas suggests precautions when using space heaters

February 1, 2011

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As extremely cold temperatures approach, AEP Texas reminds electricity users to keep safety in mind when taking steps to keep warm, especially when using space heaters.

Space heaters and similar equipment are the leading cause of home fires during December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Most accidents involving space heaters are the result of human error such as heaters being placed too close to combustible material like drapes and furniture. Improperly maintained equipment is another contributing cause.

To ensure safety, use the following tips and share them with your friends and family:

• Give space heaters plenty of space. Space heaters pose a higher risk of fire and death than central heating systems. Keep the space heater at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including walls.

• Unplug the heater every time you leave the room and when you go to bed.

• Plug electric space heaters into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.

• Make sure the plug fits snugly in the outlet, since a loose plug can overheat. If you´re using the space heater in the bathroom, be sure to use a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Remember, electricity and water do not mix.

• Don´t hide the cord under a rug or carpet. This can cause the cord to overheat and start a fire.

• Keep it stable. Don´t put your space heater on plush carpet or other surfaces where the space heater may tip over easily.

• Check the tag. Make sure an independent testing laboratory (Underwriters Laboratories) has approved your new space heater.

• Space heaters should be on timers when you´re at home.

Power outages can be reported to AEP Texas by calling 1-866-223-8508. Outages also can be reported through the www.aeptexas.com website, which also features additional information regarding electric safety and energy efficiency during extreme weather conditions.

Portable fuel-burning generators may be used to supply electricity for the operation of small electrical appliances in the event of a power outage. While a generator can be convenient during an outage, potentially serious hazards exist if a generator is not used or connected properly. No matter how you plan to use a generator, always review the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use and maintenance of the system.

AEP Texas serves more than 900,000 electric consumers in the deregulated Texas marketplace. As an energy delivery (wires) company, AEP Texas delivers electricity safely and reliably to homes, businesses and industry across its nearly 100,000 square mile service territory in west and south Texas. AEP Texas also builds new power lines, restores service following outages and handles electric metering REPs throughout its service territory. The company also connects or disconnects service upon the orders of the REPs. AEP Texas is part of the American Electric Power (AEP) system.

AEP is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

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