Pacific Gas and Electric Company Warns Customers to Be Aware of Dangerous and Irresponsible Stunt on 'Fear Factor'

Utility Asks NBC, Affiliates Not to Air Episode, or at Least Warn Viewers in Strongest Terms Not to Replicate This Stunt

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company today urged NBC and its affiliates not to air tonight's episode of the reality show, Fear Factor Couples. According to NBC promotional materials, the show will feature a stunt where participants stand at a high-voltage electrical substation and receive electric shocks.

"It is important for viewers to realize that getting close to electrified lines -- especially high-voltage lines -- is dangerous and potentially lethal," said David Powell, Pacific Gas and Electric Company's public safety program manager. "In reality, a stunt like this could result in either severe burns or even death. It is unfortunate that this reality show has chosen to depict a very dangerous activity in such a lighthearted manner."

A substation is a crucial part of the electrical system containing high voltage and should not be used as a prop or backdrop for a reality TV show. If this stunt does air, it may cause viewers to fail to appreciate the seriousness and potential dangers surrounding electric facilities. It may even encourage unsuspecting children and young adults to attempt a copycat prank.

If the network or local affiliates will not pull the episode, PG&E asks that they consider editing the show to remove or modify this segment, and include a strong warning to viewers not to try this stunt on their own.

PG&E is very committed to the safety of its customers and employees, and seeks to continuously provide safety-related messages and information to the public and its employees. For example, there is a wide variety of information about safety around both electricity and natural gas on PG&E's website, at One of the primary public safety messages the utility employs is to stay away from power lines. The utility's public safety program also includes the following key messages:
* Keep at least 10 feet away from any overhead or energized power line.
* Never climb a power pole or other electrical equipment.

* Assume all power lines are "hot" or energized -- particularly if they have fallen on the ground.

* Keep out of electric substations, as the equipment carries high voltage and you can easily be injured or killed.

* Check trees for overhead wires running near or through limbs and branches before climbing. If lines are present, do not climb the tree for any reason.

* Kites, balloon, model airplanes, and other toys should never be flown near power lines. Should a toy get caught in a power line, leave it alone and call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

PG&E encourages parents to be aware of what their children are watching on television, and to reinforce safe habits through discussion and education.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company and additional safety tips, please visit our website at

Source: Pacific Gas and Electric CompanyWeb site:

'Shocking' Television Stunt Spurs ComEd Warning about Electrical Safety

CHICAGO, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- ComEd is reminding its customers not to take electric safety lightly as NBC prepares to air an episode of "Fear Factor" tonight that features contestants making their way through a maze of electrically charged wires.

The program's Web site describes the stunt as "a forty-foot maze of hundreds of electrically charged wires, each packing a jolting punch." One contestant said the experience "shocks you so much that, by the time we got to the pole and you're trying to clip the flags on, you're just left shaking."

The Edison Electric Institute, which represents major U.S. utilities including ComEd, has warned NBC that there's no such thing as a safe shock.

"We and others in our industry are concerned that copycats may attempt similar stunts near electrical lines or equipment, resulting in serious or fatal injuries," said ComEd President Frank Clark. "People should not be tempted to play around electricity. This is an opportunity for us to stress safety."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that electrical shocks and fires injure thousands of people each year. Here are some safety reminders for people to focus on year round:
-- Never climb utility poles or trees near power lines, or play on or
around electrical equipment.
-- Assume all wires are live and dangerous. Never touch an outdoor wire
with any part of your body, toys or other objects. Stay away from
fallen power lines.
-- Stay away from anything marked "Danger," "High Voltage," or "Keep Out".
-- Do not go into an electric substation for any reason - even on a dare.
And, never attempt to rescue a pet that goes inside. Instead, call
ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661).
-- Never fly a kite, model airplanes, balloons or other toys near power
lines. Also, do not attempt to retrieve toys or other objects that may
get stuck on power lines or other electrical equipment. Instead, call
ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1.
-- Never play with electrical cords or touch cords that are broken or have
wire showing.
-- Never stick anything but an electrical plug into an electrical outlet.
-- Never touch electric toys or anything electrical if you are wet or
standing in water.

"Electricity is unforgiving," Clark said. "You are not likely to get a second chance. We do not want our customers putting their lives in jeopardy."

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) one of the nation's largest electric utilities with nearly $12 billion in revenues and a customer base of five million. ComEd provides service to more than 3.4 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.

Source: Commonwealth Edison Company

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