Monday, November 16, 2009

All About Electricity and Outages (Part 2)

Disaster always seems to strike at the wrong time.  Or maybe that's why it is a disaster.  I mean, who wants to really sit in their house, dead of winter, with no electricity and no heat?  I sure don't.  Neither do the thousands of customers that are affected by a winter storm.

This is why PGE works around the clock during a large outage to get power restored as soon as possible!! We have crews out in the field, working 12-14 hour shifts, fixing lines, removing debris, and replacing poles.  Meanwhile,  there are representatives in the call center taking calls around the clock, also working 12 hour shifts.  It doesn't matter the time of day, or the year for that matter.

All of that being said, here are some helpful hints as the winter season approaches, and the chances of losing your power for hours (or even days) increases:

  • Make an outage kit!!  This should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered radio (so you can get updates), a battery-powered alarm clock, bottled water, canned food (enough for a few days), manual can opener, blankets, candles, a lighter, and a first-aid kid.
  • Make sure you have cash on you!! You never know what the extent of any winter storm will be, and you may not have access to an ATM or bank.
  • Stay calm!!
  • If there as anyone in the home that needs electricity to live, consider a generator.  Most electric companies don't put a house on high priority because there is a medical condition.  (This may seem harsh, but in a large outage, there are lines and trees down and safety is #1)
  • If you see a line along the road, in the yard, or anywhere else, make sure no one goes near it!! The chances are it isn't a "live wire" but you should always assume it is.  Power lines are EXTREMELY dangerous!!  Call your electric company to report any lines or poles that are down. 
  • Check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they are handling the outage okay.
  • Turn off all your breakers except one that is labeled for the lights.  The last thing you want is a surge in electricity when the power is restored, possibly causing damage to appliances.

You can find these tips and more on the Safety & Outages portion of PGE's website, or at American Red Cross.

While I sometimes don't have all the answers, I have many resources to get the answers I need.  With that, I leave you with the open invitation to email me with any questions you have at JAKA(dot)files(at)yahoo(dot)com.  I will be more than happy to answer questions and/or find the answers.