What To Do When Electrical Power is Lost
Disruption of electrical service can occur as a result of many things, including lightning, high winds, ice and heavy snow, and equipment failure. For the most part, service is normally restored within a short period. However, major power outages can happen for extended periods from time to time.
When power is lost, you should:
• Check to see if your neighbors have power. It may be only in your home, a blown fuse or a tripped circuit. If your neighbors are also without service, call Eversource at (800) 286-2000.
• If you must go outside to assess the situation, take a flashlight and watch for downed power lines that could still be energized. If downed lines are located, don't go near them or touch anything that they may be in contact with. Report downed power lines immediately.
• Turn off all major appliances. Leave just a couple of light switches on in the home and the front porch light. When major appliances (refrigerators, electric water heaters, air conditioners and pumps) are left on, they could overload electric lines when power is restored causing a second outage.
• Keep refrigerators and freezers closed. Food can be kept cold enough for a day or two, if the doors are kept closed. During the winter, you may be able to store some items outside in a proper container. If temperatures are below freezing, it's possible to freeze water outside in containers and place them inside your refrigerator to help keep food cold. Try to consume perishable foods first. Some partially frozen foods can be refrozen as long as they contain ice crystals or are no warmer than 40° Fahrenheit. Consider purchasing a thermometer for both the refrigerator and freezer. Don't refreeze seafood, poultry, ice cream, cream sauces or anything susceptible to spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.
• During times of prolonged outages, your power company may provide dry ice at a designated location; bring an ice cooler or suitable container to transport it back home. As a rule of thumb, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer at the proper temperature (32° F) for three to four days.
• Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns to illuminate your home. Candles and kerosene lanterns are not recommended for lighting because of the inherent fire safety hazards.
• Use portable emergency generators for limited electrical power during an outage. But, take care to ensure that they do not pose a threat to you and your family. Never fuel or run a portable generator in the home or garage, as gas-powered generators pose a serious fire and carbon monoxide threat. Generators should be installed by a licensed electrician in compliance with Eversource’ guidelines to ensure the generator is equipped with a double-throw transfer switch that protects your equipment and prevents feedback on power lines. Always operate according to the manufacturer's instructions. For additional information on the proper use of emergency generators, call Eversource at (800) 286-2000.
• Water Systems with Electric Pumps such as wells or cisterns - will not operate when the power is out. Use alternate sources of water until power is restored.
• Gas Appliances may not work if the electricity is off because the equipment may require electricity for ignition or valve operation.
• Water Heaters that are drained to prevent damage from freezing must have their power circuit shut off as well. Failure to do so could result in loss of the heating element when power is restored. Never turn on a water heater unless the tank is full.
• Plumbing can freeze when power is lost during cold weather periods. Drain pumps, supply lines, water heaters, boilers and traps in drains of tubs, sinks, commodes, dishwashers and washing machines. To avoid flooding when temperatures rise, turn off supply lines to outside spigots.
• Life support equipment required for family members who depend on these devices (respirators, ventilators, oxygen equipment or other life-sustaining devices) should be listed with the Department of Senior & Social Services and the power company, with your doctor's approval. You should have a contingency plan that includes an alternate power source for the device and an alternate location for the person.
• Trees are the primary cause of power outages in Canton. Power companies have regularly scheduled programs for trimming trees. When planting and/or trimming trees on your property, always seek professional help in trimming limbs or branches that are close to power lines.