Although weather is the most common cause of unplanned outages, there are a variety of reasons the power may unexpectedly go out. Whether equipment fails or lightning strikes, an interruption to the electric network causes an outage. The reason for an outage may affect the length of time it takes to bring power back to your home.
- Storms: Wind, heat, ice and snow are the most common causes of widespread power outages.
- Trees: During high winds, or trimming by an untrained professional, limbs can come into contact with power lines, causing interruptions.
- Vehicles: A vehicle collision with a utility pole can cause a power outage.
- Animals: Although we place barriers between wildlife and electricity equipment, birds, cats and other small animals may still cause power lines to short circuit.
- Lightning: When lightning strikes electrical equipment, transmission towers, wires, and poles, outages can occur.
- Excavation Digging: Sometimes, underground cables are disturbed by digging.
What To Do During an Unplanned Outage
- In the event of an outage, check your fuse or breaker box before you call GRICUA. Replace any blown fuses, or reset any tripped circuit breakers by switching the breaker to 'Off', then back to 'On'.
- If your fuses and circuit breakers are OK, check with a neighbor to see if their power is out.
- Refrigerators and freezers - leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep your food as fresh as possible.
If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, follow the guidelines below:
- For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoil-able leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
- For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
- Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Medical - If you have a medical condition that is impacted by a power outage call 911. If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for proper storage instructions during an extended outage.
- Cooking during an outage - NEVER use charcoal briquettes to cook or heat food indoors. Charcoal briquettes produce carbon monoxide. Odorless and colorless, a build-up of carbon monoxide can be deadly.
- Turn off lights, the stove and unplug major appliances and electronics to prevent overload when the power is restored. Leave one light on so you'll know when the outage is over.
When You Call GRICUA
Be prepared to answer and give the following information:
- Your name
- Phone number (both cell & land line)
- Address of the outage, cross streets & District
- Did you check the panel or breaker?
- Do your neighbors also have an outage, did you hear a loud bang or do you see wires on the ground?