What to Do When the Lights Go Out
Your safety is most important to us.
We do our best to keep your energy service as reliable as possible, but occasionally the weather or other circumstances can cause an outage.
Temporary electrical outages can be caused by lightning, snowstorms, high winds or equipment failure. If there's an outage, the following answers to commonly asked questions can help:
Don’t panic. Check to see if your neighbors have power.
If you’re the only one without power, see whether a main fuse is blown or a circuit breaker is tripped. Keep extra fuses on hand. Never change a fuse or reset a circuit breaker in the dark. Use a flashlight.
If your fuse or circuit breaker is not the problem, the service wire connection to your home may be down. Electrical wires may fall on trees, fences, rain gutters, metal siding, vehicles and the ground. If so, don’t go near the wire. It may still be charged with electricity. Contact us to report the downed line.
Different circumstances can result in varying outage times. During extreme weather conditions or major equipment failure, outage time can increase.
During this time, we ask that you turn light switches to the off position and unplug equipment and appliances. This will help prevent a sudden high demand for power when the service is restored. Leave one or two lights on so you will know when your service is back on.
Our crews will repair major electric lines that serve hundreds of customers before they can repair scattered outages. Emergency services and major communication facilities take priority.
If you have a medical emergency during an electrical outage, please call 911 immediately.
No. A central gas, propane or electric heating system will not operate while the power is out. Here are a couple tips to follow during an outage:
- Never use a gas oven or range to heat your home. This may fill your home with deadly carbon monoxide gas. A kerosene heater or wood burner also can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas if inadequately ventilated.
- Wear layers of clothing and use several layers of blankets for the most warmth.
If you use a portable generator, do not connect or plug it into the wiring system of a home or building. This may feed-back through the transformer and power lines that are down or being worked on by our crews. Plug individual appliances directly into the portable generator.
A freezer and refrigerator will maintain foods for 12 to 48 hours or longer, depending on the room temperature and frequency of opening. Avoid opening your freezer or refrigerator during a power outage unless it’s absolutely necessary.
You can use a camp stove, fireplace or can of sterno (cooking fuel) for cooking during power outages. Please use caution if using one of these devices, and be careful to provide adequate ventilation if you cook with alternate fuel. Use camp stoves and charcoal grills outside only.
Sudden “split second” changes in voltage occur in all electrical systems. Unfortunately, electric appliances and devices such as TV’s, VCR’s and computers are extremely sensitive to such changes.
Surge suppressors are designed to help protect sensitive electric equipment; but they do not prevent power interruptions. You can buy them at many electronic, computer, hardware and department stores.
Yes. Nearly all our service vehicles are equipped with two-way radios and will relay emergency messages if your telephone is un-operable. If you need to call the police, an ambulance or the fire department, notify an employee and explain the situation. Our employees are prepared to assist you.
We suggest you keep a supply kit in case of power outage that includes:
- Flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs
- List of emergency phone numbers
- Battery operated lantern for room light
- Canned foods and manual can opener
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- First-aid kit