CMEC believes that no function is of greater importance than the safety and health of our employees, members/consumers, and the general public.  We believe that no operating condition or urgency of service can ever justify the destruction of property or the endangerment of life.

Indoor safety

  • Never use electric appliances close to water.
  • Walk through your home and search for potential electric hazards. Many hazards are easily identified and corrected.
  • Never put items into electric outlets that are not intended for them.
  • Make sure electric outlets aren’t overloaded.
  • Check all electric and extension cords to make sure they aren’t cracked, frayed, or covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Use the correct wattage light bulb for lighting fixtures.
  • Keep electric appliances away from damp or hot surfaces, and make sure they have appropriate air circulation.
  • Signs of potential hazards that should be examined by a qualified electrician include dim or flickering lights, arcs or sparks, sizzling or buzzing sounds from your electric systems, odors, switch plates hot to the touch, loose plugs and damaged insulation.

Outdoor safety

  • Never use electric power tools in the rain or wet conditions.
  • Electric lawnmowers should never be used when grass is wet.
  • Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before use for frayed power cords, broken housings or broken plugs.
  • When using tools or extension cords outdoors, make sure they are marked for outdoor use.
  • Unplug all portable power tools when not in use. Don’t leave power tools unattended, even briefly.
  • Metal ladders conduct electricity. Be aware of overhead wires and power lines.
  • Stay away from electric utility equipment and substations.
  • If you see a downed power line, stay away from it, then call 911.
  • Contact Coles-Moultrie at 217-235-0341 or toll free at 888-661-2632 if you know about a fallen or leaning power pole.

Before You Dig, Call 811

At least 48 hours before you plan to dig on your property for any reason, call 811 to find out if there are underground utility lines in your work area. CMEC will be contacted in order to locate primary power lines nearby. If you outline the excavation area in white paint beforehand, it will help our representative to find the dig site.

CMEC will identify the location of all power lines connected to meters. You’re responsible for locating any power lines that go from the meter to your home or other buildings.

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

The Coles-Moultrie region is within an area prone to thunderstorms and other severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes and flash floods. When you know the risks and what actions to take, you can better protect your family and property.


  • Unplug electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with corded phones and devices, including those plugged in for recharging.
  • Unplug appliances and other electric items such as computers, and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing and bathroom fixtures. They can conduct electricity.
  • Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
  • Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
  • Avoid contact with anything metal — tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs and bicycles.

Freezing weather

  • Have your heating system inspected by a qualified service professional once a year. This inspection should include cleaning and lubrication, replacing filters, checking belts and thermostats and clearing vents of obstructions, as necessary.
  • Turn off and unplug electric blankets if not in use. Never tuck in electric blankets.
  • Use electric products only for their intended purposes. Hair dryers and space heaters, for example, aren’t intended to thaw frozen pipes, dry clothing or warm bedding.
  • Keep flammable materials, such as bedding, clothing, drapes, furniture or rugs, a minimum of 3 feet from portable electric heaters, even ones with safety features such as cut-off switches or heating element guards.
  • Don’t use space heaters where children may be unsupervised.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when they’re not in use.


  • Make sure the electric circuit breakers or fuses are clearly marked for each area of your home or business.
  • If high water is approaching and the floor is dry, turn off the electricity at the main circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Unplug appliances — but again, only if you don’t have to stand in water. If possible, move larger appliances such as washing machines to a higher floor, or place them on concrete blocks.
  • If you use a generator, only connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electric system.
  • Don’t go into any room or basement if water is covering appliance cords that are plugged in or if water has reached the wall outlets.
  • Don’t enter a room if you hear popping or buzzing, or if you see sparks.
  • If you see downed power lines, call Coles-Moultrie or 911. Be careful around downed tree limbs. They can conduct electricity from wet or broken power lines.
  • Remain a safe distance from all ground-level electric boxes to avoid a hazard.
  • Before entering a flooded building or basement, make certain the electricity is off.
  • If the electric panel is covered by water, the resident or business should contact an electrician to determine the safety of the unit.