Summer is just around the corner and so are thunderstorms. Sometimes the lights just flicker. Sometimes poles go down and electricity can be out for longer periods of time. Your electric co-op works hard to ensure outages are kept to a minimum, but it does not hurt to be prepared for power outages.
Follow these tips:
- Do your neighbors still have power? If they do, check your own fuses or breakers. Replacing a fuse or resetting a breaker may restore your power. If the problem is not in your home or you can see your neighbors are also in the dark, call your electric cooperative at 1-800-927-5685. They will dispatch a crew to take care of the outage. (We recommend having the Co-op’s outage # programmed into your cell phone or have a magnet with the Co-op’s outage # on your refrigerator so the number is always handy. Call to request a magnet if you need one).
- While the power is out, unplug things like microwaves, TV’s, and computers, and turn air conditioners off. This will help eliminate damage to them from a voltage surge when power is restored. Waiting a few minutes before turning these units back on after power is restored, reduces demand on the distribution system and protects your appliances. You may want to leave one light on during an outage to let you know when power is restored.
- If you use a standby generator, make sure it is properly wired and installed with a transfer switch. If a generator is not properly installed, it could back-feed to the power lines and injure the line crew working on the outage.
- To make power outages easier and more tolerable keep the following items on hand:
· Battery-operated radio
· Basic first aid supplies
· Baby supplies if an infant lives in the home
· A small supply of drinking water and food
· Extra batteries for flashlights and radio
· Candles and matches
- Check your basement periodically for flooding. A portable, gasoline-powered pump or a battery-back up sump pump can be used if a power outage renders your unit inoperable. Never wade into a flooded basement unless the electricity supplying power to basement appliances and outlets has been disconnected.
- Never go near downed power lines. That is a job for line crews.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed to keep food fresh longer. Wrap blankets around the appliances to provide extra insulation. Bottled water, canned soda and juices eliminate dependence on the refrigerator.
- If the health of a family member is a concern, consider staying with friends, in a community center or church where electricity is available. You can also consolidate your resources with neighbors if they have electricity in their homes. Furthermore, your electric co-op should be notified now, before a storm, if you use life-support equipment in your home.
- In most rural areas electricity is required to pump water into the home. Since water cannot be pumped during a power outage (unless you have an automatic generator), keep an adequate supply of drinking water on hand at all times.
Think ahead and follow the above tips to be prepared for a power outage. Planning ahead makes such disruptions easier. Finally, remember to stay calm. The electricity will be back on as quickly as possible. Your electric cooperative is working long hours to restore your service.