With winter weather expected to impact much of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.'s service territory this week, SCE&G offers the following safety tips.

During a winter storm, ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to break and fall, sometimes taking power lines and even meter boxes down with them. Always assume any downed power line you see is live and stay away.

Should the power go out while you are cooking dinner, remember to turn off the stove and remove any cookware from the cooking surface and oven.

It's sometimes hard to resist the urge to supplement a heating system lost during an outage, but household items such as cooking stoves or ovens and outdoor grills should never be used for heat. If you use a fireplace for heat, be sure to extinguish any flames before going to bed.

Supplemental heaters and generators designed for home use should be used with extreme caution, paying close attention to the manufacturer's instructions.

To report a power outage, you can call 1-888-333-4465. You can also report and check the status of your power outage online from your internet-ready mobile device or phone by visiting www.sceg.com/mobile and clicking on storm center.

SCE&G's storm center, www.sceg.com/storm provides information and links to help customers prepare for and deal with inclement weather and related power outages - information about how to report power outages and the process for restoring service to customers, as well as important safety tips.

Now is also a good time to register for SCE&G's texting option. Head to www.sceg.com, login to your account and look for the "Activate Text Options "under the "Account Options" feature and then follow the instructions. If you are experiencing an outage, simply text the word "OUT" to 467234 (gosceg).