Power Outage Tips
What To Do And Not Do When The Power Goes Off
If the lights go off, know what steps to take to be comfortable, safe and help the Co-op restore service quickly.
- Check your electrical panel. Look for tripped breakers or blown fuses. Try to reset the breakers by switching them OFF then ON.
- Call Douglas Electric @ 1-888-420-8826 to report your outage. If the power does not return report it to the Co-op. Also, report any flashes, bangs or trees in lines that can help repair crews locate damage. Telephone lines are answered 24-hours a day; if the lines are busy, please try back later or log into your SmartHub account. Once you have spoken to a Member Service Representative and reported your outage, you will be logged into the outage system and scheduled for restoration. Our crews will restore your power as soon as safely possible.
- Turn off major appliances. The water heater and heating system breakers need to be turned off to avoid overloading your circuits when the power is restored. Unplug any voltage-sensitive equipment.
- Verify that your water heater has a drain or outlet. Turn off the water supply valve to the water heater. Open at least one, preferably more, hot water faucets to avoid a vacuum in the water lines to allow fresh water to drain out of the water heater for your use.
- If you drain your water heater, make sure the fuse or breaker to your water heater is removed or turned off.
- Install surge protectors to protect voltage sensitive equipment.
- Switch on an outside light. This may assist our crews in determining whether or not your power has been restored late into the night.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food in a refrigerator will last 12 to 24 hours if the doors are kept closed. A full freezer can last 24 to 48 hours. Helpful Hint: You can drape a sleeping bag over your refrigerator or freezer for added insulating value in case of an extended power outage.
- Listen to radio reports. Keep either a battery operated or battery free (hand crank) radio on hand for emergencies. During an extended outage, please listen to the local radio stations, KQEN at AM 1240 or Sam FM at 104.5 for updates and information.
- NEVER GO NEAR OR TOUCH A DOWNED POWER LINE.
- NEVER WIRE A PORTABLE GENERATOR DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL.
Extended Outage Tips
Remember these tips during an extended outage. It’s easier on everyone involved. We also suggest creating an outage preparedness kit. The American Red Cross has detailed instructions for creating a survival kit here.
- Please let the line crews do their job. It’s tempting to stop crews and ask questions about when the power is going to be restored, but this only delays the restoration process. Remember that while the crews want to be helpful, they also want to restore your power quickly so they too can get home to their families.
- Be a good neighbor. Severe storms usually increase the number of accidents and medical problems. Remember this increases the response time for service agencies. You may want to organize people in your area to check on each other and lend assistance.
- Use portable generators correctly. If not used correctly, portable generators can cause fatal accidents involving the workers on the lines. Plug appliances into the generator. DO NOT connect household breaker circuits to the generator without a “double-throw switch” installed by a licensed electrician.
- Emergency water sources. Run off from rooftops can be collected and used for washing, but do not drink it. A water heater can supply drinking water. Be sure the breaker is OFF before you drain it, and be sure to fill it before turning the breaker back on. Before You Turn Your Water Heater On:
- Close the drain or outlet at the bottom of the water heater.
- Close the faucets in the bathrooms or kitchen.
- Turn the water supply valve to the water heater back on.
- Allow the water heater to fill for at least 30 minutes before turning on the breakers. Failure to do so will damage the heating elements in your water heater.
- Keep the freezer full. Milk jugs filled with water and placed in a half-full freezer can be a supply of both water and ice in an emergency. Also, it will keep the freezer colder longer if it is full. Check into purchasing dry ice to help prevent spoilage.