Power outages

What can cause a power outage?

Power outages can occur from breaks in the transmission due to natural disasters such as extreme weather conditions, floods, or earthquakes. Additionally rolling blackouts can occur due to too much draw on the electrical system during extreme heat or cold occurrences.

What should I do if the power goes out?

First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbours’ power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, visually check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.

  1. If your neighbours’ power is also out, notify your electric supply authority.
  2. Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
  3. Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.
  4. Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. Without power, your refrigerator will keep foods cool for 4 to 6 hours and a full freezer will keep food frozen for 48 hours, if the door remains closed.
  5. Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.
  6. Listen to your battery-powered or wind-up radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.
  7. Do not use a charcoal or gas barbecue, camping heating equipment, or operate generators indoors (including in a garage). These could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  8. If a traffic signal is not working, treat it as a stop sign.
  9. Keep well away from any downed electrical wires.
  10. Throw out any food that has been unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Food with an unusual odor, or texture should also be discarded. Food may not be safe during or after a power outage.

This item was last modified on April 28, 2017