CHARLESTON, W.Va., June 23 -- Appalachian Power issued the following news release:
With the summer months upon the Ohio Valley, the number of signs promoting yard sales, fundraisers, and businesses is increasing. Some of those signs are being placed on utility poles, a practice that creates unsafe working conditions for utility workers.
"Utility workers need to access the poles to ensure reliability of electric service. Signs that are placed on poles cause hazards for employees and contractors," said Joelle Connors, American Electric Power's external affairs manager.
Objects used to hang signs -- such as tacks, staples and nails -- can obstruct climbing equipment, causing a worker to slip or fall. These same objects can tear the protective clothing that shields a worker from electricity. Even the tiniest pinhole in a glove is enough to cause a burn or other injury.
AEP and the city of Wheeling urge individuals not to post signs on utility poles for businesses, yard sales, or any other purpose. Within the city limits of Wheeling, it is illegal to post signs to poles. According to city code, no advertising sign, display or device shall be attached to any tree, fence, or utility pole or be painted on, affixed, or otherwise attached to any rock, ledge, or other natural feature.
"There's no message worth endangering workers," Connors said.
American Electric Power has 43,000 customers in West Virginia's northern panhandle. It is part of Appalachian Power, serving 1 million customers in West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. AEP is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 223,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.
Targeted News Service, source News Service