How to prevent power outages during and after floods

PETALING JAYA: Consumers are advised to engage only licensed electrical contractors if they wish to repair or install electrical wiring and equipment in their homes or business premises, says the Malaysian Electricity Association and electronics (TEEAM).

Its chairman, Siew Choon Thye, said consumers should bring affected electrical appliances for inspection and repair by competent, certified electricians registered with the Energy Commission.

“In particular, distribution boards and switches should only be replaced by those registered with the commission, given the risks to the household if the installation is not carried out correctly.

“Engage only competent electrical contractors registered with the Energy Board to inspect premises wiring and perform any rewiring or electrical replacement needed after flood waters abate.

“Over 33 deaths have been reported since December 22, including one related to electrocution in Dengkil, Selangor.

“While flooding is common in our part of the world, TEAAM wants to educate the general public about electrical safety on the do’s and don’ts during and after flooding,” Siew said in a statement yesterday following widespread flooding in Peninsular Malaysia.

TEAAM is the national representative body for the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry in Malaysia.

The “backs” include shutting off power to the electrical distribution board in the event of flooding.

“The distribution box has miniature circuit breakers for each circuit as well as a main shut-off switch. Each individual circuit breaker must be turned off one by one, then the main switch.

“All appliances, appliances and electrical equipment should be unplugged. If possible, they should be moved to higher places in the premises to prevent them from being submerged in water.

“Beware of areas where any wiring may be underwater and watch out for downed power lines which pose a shock hazard.

“Extreme caution should be used when re-entering an area to begin cleaning. If your power is not off, you should not enter the premises until it has been verified that they are safe,” TEAAM said.

The list of things to avoid is as follows: refrain from touching switches or devices or appliances with wet hands or while standing in flood water; avoid entering an area where floodwaters have overtaken electrical outlets; refrain from touching wires or cables that have fallen into the water; avoid removing debris hanging over overhead distribution lines, as the cables may be under tension; and finally, avoid touching streetlights (especially metal ones) that are submerged.

A list of licensed electricians and contractors is available at www.st.gov.my.