National Grid e-newsletter
Spring 2012

Electrical & Natural Gas Safety

May is Electrical Safety Month
Practice Electrical Safety All Year Long

Electricity is an amazing tool and powers many devices that make our lives better, easier or simply more fun. Just think of what life would be like without televisions, air conditioners, clothes washers, microwave ovens and other electric devices in the home.

Lightbulb with hardhatElectricity, however, is not something that should be taken lightly. It can be dangerous if not used properly. Each year, there are thousands of electrical related fires, injuries and even deaths. For that reason, May of every year is chosen as Electrical Safety Month. Although we should practice electrical safety all the time, Electrical Safety Month is a time when we can refresh our memories about the best ways to avoid dangerous situations that could cause problems. We can also learn about new devices that can make us even safer.

Here are some simple tips for electrical safety in your home:

  • Check all the electrical cords. Damaged or loose cords can overheat and cause fires. Also, make sure there are no extension cords that run across doorways or under carpets.

  • Make sure plugs fit snugly into electrical outlets. Loose–fitting plugs can overheat.

  • If there are young children in your home, be sure to have safety covers on electrical outlets that are not being used. Sometimes children try to insert metal objects such as keys or paper clips, and they can receive a dangerous shock.

  • Another way to prevent this from happening is by putting in a specially designed outlet that can sense when something other than a plug is being inserted. These special outlets are called tamper–resistant receptacles (TRRs) and need to be installed by an electrician.

  • It’s important to follow the instructions for plugging in an appliance like a washing machine or microwave oven. You should also avoid “overloading” an outlet by plugging in too many appliances into one outlet.

  • If outlets or light switches feel warm when you touch them or your lights flicker, call an electrician. There could be a problem with the wiring in your walls.

  • When replacing a burned–out bulb in a lamp, always use bulbs that are the proper size.

  • Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely because loose bulbs may overheat.

Be sure to visit Electric and Natural Gas Safety World to teach students how to keep themselves safe around electricity and natural gas, and visit our homepage at for more information on energy efficiency, renewables and ethics.


Energy efficiency world

What is energy efficiency and why is it important?


Sustainable Energy World

Everything Old is New Again
Wind Power from Ancient Egypt to Modern Day

Energy efficiency is an effort to use less energy by changing the way we do things in our daily lives and also by using appliances and products that need less energy to run. Energy efficiency doesn’t mean we have to do without things that make our life easier or more enjoyable. It means we should be smarter about the ways we use energy.

Energy conservation means using less energy. For example, you can conserve energy by getting rid of your TV set. But you can also save energy by getting a television that is designed to use less electricity.

There are several good reasons we should all make an effort to use less energy:

  • It prolongs the supply of natural resources

    Most of our electricity comes from power plants which use turbines that run on coal, oil or natural gas. It took millions of years for these natural resources to form and there isn’t an unlimited supply. It won’t happen soon but one day we will run out these energy sources.

    By using less electricity, we can get the most out of our current supply of natural resources. These fuels will not only last longer but using these energy sources more efficiently will give us more time to develop other ways to produce electrical energy, such as through solar and wind power.

  • Energy efficiency reduces pollution

    When you burn coal, oil or natural gas at a power plant, harmful gases are released into the atmosphere. This affects the quality of the air we breathe and many believe it contributes to a gradual increase in air temperature all over the world.

    This increase in air temperature is called global warming. It may cause gradual and powerful, changes in our weather and environment. If we can reduce the amount of harmful gases that go into the atmosphere, we’ll have cleaner air to breathe and a better environment.

  • Energy efficiency saves money

    Electricity costs money. So does the oil or gas you use to heat your home. By using energy more wisely, we can reduce our monthly bills. As the costs for electricity, oil and gas continue to go up, it becomes more and more important to be energy efficient.

    There are simple ways to be more energy efficient at home. When using your clothes washer, set the water temperature to “cold” and make sure the washer always has a full load. Using energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and special water–saving devices on your faucets and shower also makes the home more efficient.

Find more experiments, activities and games that inspire students to use energy wise by visiting Energy efficiency world and visit our home page at for information on energy safety, renewables and ethics.



Using wind power is nothing new. More than 5,000 years ago, people in Egypt figured out how to use wind to move their boats. The first windmills, which pumped water, were developed in China about 1,500 years later.

Eventually, inventors discovered ways to use the power of wind to grind grain and do other types of farm work. When electricity became an important tool for industry in the late 1800s, scientists and engineers became fascinated with the idea of using wind power to create electricity.

Wind power today

Today, the prices for oil, gas and coal continue to rise so wind power has become even more popular. There are other reasons why so many people are interested in wind power.

Wind power farm

While our supplies of oil, gas and coal will run out some day, wind will always be here. It is called a renewable energy because it will never run out. Solar power is also a renewable energy.

Renewable energy has another big advantage. When oil, gas or coal is burned at a power plant, harmful gases are released into the atmosphere. Renewable energy does not need to burn fuel, so it does not produce harmful gases.

We are still learning how to use wind power. The equipment is expensive and not all areas are windy enough to power wind turbines. In 2011, wind power was used for just 3 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States.

How does it work?

Wind causes the blades of the turbine to spin. The blades are connected to a shaft which runs a generator. The generator produces electricity.

To produce more electricity, several wind turbines can be placed together in the same area. This is called a wind farm. The electricity from the wind farm is collected and sent to a transformer, which increases the voltage, making it possible to send it to homes and businesses through power lines.

For more information on wind power and other renewable forms of energy, visit Your Sustainable Energy World or go to our homepage for information on energy safety, efficiency and ethics.



Ethics Explorer

Preparing Our Youth for Success Face–to–Face

In today’s fast-paced electronic world, communication often takes the form of text messages, emails and cell phone calls. While each of these forms of communication has their place, they shouldn’t be a substitute for real face-to-face human interaction. Humans require the warmth and understanding that can only be achieved through face-to-face communication.

Students texting

Recent findings by the Pew Research Center note that the volume of texting among teens (ages 12–17) has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 per day in 2012. Studies suggest that teens prefer to text rather than have a verbal conversation. Furthermore, anecdotal information indicates that many of today’s youth use texting and email as a way to avoid difficult discussions. What they don’t recognize is they also miss the worthwhile process of conflict resolution.

There’s a lot that we miss when we use electronic communication. Experts note that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. In other words, only 7 percent of our communication is conveyed by the words we choose. Thirty-eight percent comes from voice quality and 55 percent comes from nonverbal cues or body language. Without hearing the inflection of a voice or seeing facial expressions and gestures, it’s difficult to know exactly what a person is trying to communicate. More importantly, it’s the quality of in-person communication that helps people to form connections with one another.

Happy students

Many parents, educators, and employers see the electronic communication problem manifest itself socially and verbally. Some suggest that more and more youth lack confidence when speaking; have trouble making eye contact; experience difficulty expressing themselves; and trouble making connections and resolving problems. Others point to an increase in bullying and teen isolation as possible results. Certainly the lack of face–to–face communication can impact everything from relationships and family life to college and job interviews.

When it comes to smart phones and electronic communication, adults should look to model good behavior, promote general etiquette, look for opportunities to encourage conversation and enforce parental and institutional usage policies. In short, we should get our students to talk—to parents, friends, educators and employers—and promote speaking opportunities in class, clubs and other organizations. Nothing takes the place of face–to–face communication when preparing our youth for personal and professional success.

Visit Ethics Explorer for lessons and activities on ethics and visit our homepage at


Teacher at whiteboardSpotlight on Interactive
White Boards

Some NGRID–area teachers are using the Energy Explorer website with Smart Boards and other interactive white board technology to great effect in their classrooms.

Massachusetts 4th grade teacher and NGRID Advisory Panel member Amy Steiger, who uses an Eno Board and clickers, has enjoyed playing NGRID’s Make the Sustainable Choice game with her class:

“I’m the gamer at the computer up front in the classroom. Our school has the clicker technology, in which students can ‘buzz’ their answers when questions are posed through the computer projector…The students guide the game by clicking in their answers, and then I enter the majority choice. This game prepares students to think about everyday choices to help save the environment. All of the questions are child–friendly, asking students to make choices about things in their lives that they have control over, such as turning off the water when brushing teeth, and using reusable shopping bags…Also, by doing this game as a whole class, when we explore the ‘Calculations’ section, students can work in teams to come up with a ballpark estimate before we discuss the accurate answer.”

Cheryl Beck, another Advisory Panel member and a 4th grade teacher in upstate New York, says the Energy Explorer site’s Hidden Dangers Game, which teaches electrical safety, can also be played with the interactive whiteboard. “I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and the Smart Board has brought us much further along—the kids just come alive with it!”

Explore our world of energy education…

#9202 © 2012 Culver Media, LLC