Be Prepared for Outages
It’s hard to predict the weather, but it’s easy to prepare for it. Here’s how to plan ahead for unavoidable power outages that can accompany storms:
- Listen to weather forecasts every day so you’ll know when high winds or heavy snows or ice are on the way. That kind of weather is most likely to affect power lines.
- Prepare an outage kit that contains a battery-powered radio, fresh batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches, a wind-up clock, bottled water, paper plates, and plastic utensils.
- Keep a stock of canned food in your cupboard along with a manual can opener. Consider buying a camp stove and fuel that you can use (outdoors only) if you can’t cook on your electric stove.
- Tape MVEA’s phone number on your refrigerator so it will be handy if you must report an outage. Do not take it for granted that your neighbor has made the call. Cordless phones will not work, so have a traditional or mobile phone that you can use.
- Dress in layers to stay warm during a winter outage.
- Teach children to stay away from fallen or sagging power lines. They could be energized and dangerous, even if the power is out. Do not attempt to move or approach power lines.
- If you rely on electrically-powered life support equipment have a backup plan for power outages. It’s critical that members using special medical equipment at home, such as respirators, consider purchasing a backup generator and/or have other contingency plans in place. They should set up plans with friends or relatives to get to a site with electricity and/or identify emergency centers at local social service agencies and churches. While MVEA strives to provide continuous electric service to members, we cannot guarantee that occasional power outages or failures won’t occur.
- If someone in your household works from home, the use of battery backups (uninterrupted power supplies) might be something to consider. The battery backup would provide some time to protect work on desktop PCs.
- Limit freezer and refrigerator door openings during power outages. For extra insulation, wrap the freezer in blankets or secure dry ice so items will stay frozen longer during a spring or summer outage. Click the link below for tips on how to keep food safe during and after an outage.
- Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they can be hazardous. View the portable generator safety sheet to learn how to use generators safely (PDF).
- Do not use charcoal grills or gas ovens to heat your home; this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Stay inside and dress in warm, layered clothing.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards, and be sure to properly ventilate. Always keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.
Learn more about winter storm preparedness from SafeElectricity.org.
- If an outage is prolonged, the lack of water becomes a real problem. You should try to store several gallons of drinking water for such emergencies.
- Use clean glass or plastic containers. Avoid metal ones. They will oxidize and give the water an unpleasant taste. Plastic containers are preferable since they will not break.
- Boil water before storing it when you cannot sterilize the container. Water in tightly sealed containers will stay fresh indefinitely. And for an extra measure of safety, boil the water before use.
- If you use a portable generator, isolate it from our lines. If you don’t have a double-throw transfer switch installed, plug appliances directly into the generator using a properly sized extension cord.
- When the power comes back on, give the electric system a chance to stabilize by gradually using the appliances you turned off. Use only the most essential first and wait 10 to 15 minutes on the others, including water and space heating.
- If you clear trees on your property, don’t remove those tangled in power lines. Stay away from any downed lines and notify us or call 911 immediately.
- Watch out for us. Our employees frequently work along roadsides. Please remember to slow down and be aware of utility crews. Stay away from MVEA work areas. Besides being in a hazardous area, you’ll slow our crew’s progress.
Our hope is that the weather will spare us; however, if we do have outages, we will restore your service as quickly and safely as possible. We also strive to keep our outage viewer up-to-date on the outage situation so be sure to check it (if possible) for outage information.