Identifying Employees

If someone comes to your door and says they are from Jones-Onslow, be alert. For your protection, all Jones-Onslow EMC employees carry photo identification badges and will present them upon request. Our meter readers and outside crews wear uniforms (they recently switched to light blue shirts) and other outside personnel wear polo shirts with our JOEMC logo. All employees drive company trucks or that are clearly marked with our name. If you are ever unsure of the identity of any personnel on your property, please feel free to call our office.

Jones-Onslow employs contract crews for certain jobs. Their vehicles are clearly marked with signage that indicates they are working for Jones-Onslow.

Power Blinks

Power blinks occur when an obstruction comes into contact with a power line or transformer. To minimize the possibility of damage to the electrical distribution system or your home, a circuit breaker interrupts the flow of electricity for a fraction of a second. If the obstruction remains on the line, the breaker opens and then tries to re-close and restore power. If the obstruction is still on the line after the third try, the breaker opens and does not re-close automatically. At this point, a Jones-Onslow employee must be dispatched to remove the obstruction and manually reset the breaker.

Call 811 Before You Dig

811 is the phone number you call before digging to protect yourself and others from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.

There are millions of miles of buried utilities beneath the surface of the earth that are vital to everyday living like water, electricity and natural gas.

Yes! Any type of digging requires a call. Building a deck? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or mailbox? 811 is the number you should call before you begin any project. Call 811 from anywhere in the country a few days prior to digging, and your call will be routed to your local one call center. Tell the operator where you’re planning to dig. Your affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig and will send locators to your dig site to mark the approximate location of buried lines with flags or paint.

Remember: Always call 811 before you start any digging project! You can help avoid injury, expense, embarrassment and a very inconvenient day without critical services like electricity, internet or phone.

Wait for the marks! Utilities will mark their buried lines on your dig site

Most locate crews will arrive to mark your dig site with paint or flags within a few days and will make sure you know where to avoid digging so you don’t hit buried utilities. Remember the depths of utility lines may vary and there may be multiple utility lines in the same area. Be sure to check your state laws for specific information.

North Carolina requires that you call three (3) working days prior to digging. For more information about this service, including the meaning of the different color paint and flags, visit the North Carolina 811 website.

Move Over Law

In July of 2010, North Carolina lawmakers expanded the state’s ‘move over law’ to include electric utility vehicles restoring power on the sides of roadways. The ‘move over law’ requires motorists to slow down and cautiously approach emergency vehicles with flashing lights, moving over one lane when possible. Beginning in December of 2010, the law included electric utility vehicles that are stopped, with amber lights flashing, on roadway shoulders. The expanded law now protects electric utility workers as they work to maintain power lines or restore power in local communities and along North Carolina’s highways.

Signs on Poles

Posting items on utility poles may seem like an easy and harmless way to share the news with passersby; however, it presents a safety hazard for our employees. In addition, it’s also against the law (NC General Statute 14-145).

Staples, nails, and tacks used to hang signs, as well as the signs themselves, pose dangers to JOEMC lineworkers who climb poles when either restoring power following storms or while performing routine maintenance to ensure system reliability.

Sharp objects can tear the rubber gloves which help to protect them from electrocution. Also, the items used to hang the signs allow water to enter the pole and quicken the normal deterioration. This means that poles have to be replaced more often, which costs money.

Jones-Onslow EMC removes signs and items that are attached to our poles. Companies and individuals who post signs on poles could face legal action or fines.

Vegetation Management

Jones-Onslow’s goal is to provide safe and reliable electric service to our members. To do this, we must manage the growth of certain vegetation that could interfere with providing you reliable service.

Cooperative crews manage unwanted vegetation within right-of-way easements using a variety of methods which are periodically evaluated for safety and environmental impact. The cooperative uses an Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) approach which includes mechanical equipment (such as tractors and chain saws) as well as herbicide application methods.

Maintenance is performed throughout the year. We utilize line clearance contract crews to routinely trim and remove unwanted vegetation surrounding nearly 1,800 miles of overhead and underground distribution lines. When herbicides are used, these applicators utilize low volume backpack methods, specifically targeting trees and vegetation that can grow directly into the overhead lines, as well as restrict access to the poles on our system. Herbicides used include small amounts of Bayer Method, Nufarm Polaris, and Bayer Escort. All of these products have been tested and approved for this use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To learn more, click here.

Jones-Onslow manages its right-of-way with concern for the environment. By using herbicide that specifically targets woody vegetation, it allows the native grasses to grow, creating habitat for wildlife as well as an environment that pollinators can thrive in. By doing so, this also allows Jones-Onslow to continue to provide safe and reliable electric service to our members and access the utility poles within our easements efficiently in the event maintenance or repairs are needed.

Safety Around Transformers

Underground transformers, also known as the “big green boxes,” are necessary to provide electricity to your home. They change high voltage electricity to the lower voltage needed to operate the lights and appliances in your home. While transformers are safe, they are not to be climbed on or played with. Objects, including sticks and fingers, should not be poked into transformers. Report any broken locks on transformer boxes to your cooperative.

transformerMany people like to place vegetation around yard transformers. You should seek advice on plant selection from a local nursery. You do not want to plant items that may obstruct the transformer. Because we need access to the transformer, please keep shrubs and structures 10 feet away from the doors and 4 feet away from the sides. Remember, don’t make the assumption that you know the location of the utilities, always call before you dig.

It is sometimes necessary to repair or replace transformers, and vegetation or objects around transformers may be removed or damaged during service restoration or normal maintenance.

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Generator Safety

Today, more and more people are purchasing stand-by or backup generators for their homes and businesses. These can be a big help during power outages, but safety should be a major concern. If you are going to have the generator feed your home directly, you should contact a licensed electrical contractor to wire the unit safely and according to the Electrical Code. This will help prevent dangerous situations from happening to you and the electrical personnel restoring power.

Always use caution when operating a portable generator. Improper use can cause problems and injury to electrical utility workers as a result of “feedback” to the utility’s electrical distribution systems.

Here are some safety tips to remember:

  • Do not connect a portable generator to your existing house wiring. Connect it directly to appliances, and only use approved and properly sized power cords.
  • Operate generators outside, away from flammable objects. Keep children and pets away from portable generators.
  • Never add fuel while a generator is running. Turn it off and let it cool first.
  • Portable generators should be properly grounded before being used. Read your owner’s manual for instructions.
  • The use of an extension cord that is connected to a neighboring home or business is discouraged. Depending on how the cord is connected to the home needing power, it can result in “silent feedback” to the utility’s electrical distribution system.
  • This information is posted in the interest of the safety of our customers and employees. Jones-Onslow EMC is not responsible for any damage or injury resulting from or omitted from these generator safety tips.