Pepco: Megawatt U Print Page



  1. What is electricity?

    Electricity is a powerful energy that always tries to get to the ground. And to get there, electricity will always take the easiest, shortest path it can find. That includes going through people or objects (such as trees).
  1. What is lightning?

    Lightning is a form of electricity. Electrical charges develop inside a storm cloud with positively charged atoms moving to the top of the cloud and negatively charged atoms moving to the bottom. When the negatively charged atoms get too crowded, they move to a new location, sometimes the ground. If lightning strikes you, you can receive an electric shock, or even worse, be electrocuted.


  1. What do I do during a storm if I can't get inside?

    If you can't get inside, get down low to the ground. If possible, go into a ditch. The most important thing to remember is to avoid tall or metal objects.
  1. Why should you fly kites away from power lines?

    Flying a kite in an area with power lines can be dangerous. If the kite gets caught in power lines, electricity could easily and quickly travel down the kite string.
  1. What are some electricity dangers outdoors?

    Although lightning is extremely dangerous, current electricity is the greatest electrical danger outdoors. Current electricity includes all outdoor wires, outlets and power lines. It's important to stay away from any power lines, substations or pad-mounted transformers (green metal boxes).


  1. Why does the power go out if too many appliances are pluged in?

    Power can go out when the circuits are overloaded with appliances. If too many appliances are on one circuit and running at the same time, too much electricity will try to push through the wires, thus causing the circuit to "blow."
  1. How do I know if too many appliances are plugged in?

    There are several general warnings that include blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers. But there can be other warning signs that you can watch for:
    • Lights get dim when you turn on an appliance
    • Appliances like the toaster or iron take longer to heat up

    If your power does go off, you should unplug the appliances that are not being used to prevent "overloading" the circuit again.
  1. What do I do if an appliance catches on fire or if a cord is sparking?

    If you see an appliance on fire or a sparking cord, do not throw water on it, tell an adult immediately. The adult may try to extinguish the fire with an extinguisher made for electrical fires or by throwing baking soda on it. Or the adult may call the fire department to report the incident or have both of you run outside.
  1. What is the difference between a conductor and insulator?

    A conductor is an object that carries electricity easily. Metal is one example of a conductor. Insulators, on the other hand, do not carry electricity. In fact, insulators prevent electricity from moving forward. Some examples of insulators include glass, plastic, rubber and porcelain.
  1. What can happen if you use electricity improperly?

    Electricity can cause serious harm if handled improperly. First, it can cause electric shock, which can stop a person's breathing or even a heartbeat. Second it can cause severe burns. Because skin can act as a conductor, electricity can quickly and easily flow through the body to burn skin, nerves and tissue.