We work hard to prevent outages, but when bad weather strikes outages can happen, and we will work just as hard to get your power back on quickly and safely. Our crews are prepared to respond to outages, and we encourage our members to be prepared as well. By working together we can help keep everyone safe and weather the storm.
Every home should have an emergency outage kit that includes the following:
- Battery-operated radio and clock
- Extra batteries
- Non-perishable foods
- Manual can opener
- Bottled water
If a power outage occurs, Piedmont Electric encourages members to first check their fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, members should report the outage to Piedmont Electric at 1.800.449.2667. To ease the inconvenience of power outages and assist crews in restoring power, Piedmont Electric suggests the following tips and safety precautions:
- Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous. Call 911 and report the downed line to Piedmont Electric at 1.800.222.3107.
- Candles should never be left unattended or used for extended periods. Use a flashlight or other battery-powered lighting source.
- Use a fireplace or wood stove to keep warm. Pay careful attention to fire hazards.
- Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don’t use charcoal in your house or garage.
- Never use a barbecue grill indoors. Cook over sterno cans.
- Don’t drive over downed power lines.
- Turn on your porch light switch. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.
- As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers – they will keep food and perishables inside cold for some time if not opened.
- Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.
- Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.
- Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won’t freeze and crack the pipes.
- Generators should be outside or in a well ventilated unoccupied space.
- Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don’t connect a generator directly to your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous back feed hazard for line crews.
Electrical Safety During Disasters
When a storm is headed toward your home it is hard to stop and think about electrical safety. However, it could be the one thing standing in the way of keeping your family safe. By following these electrical safety precautions during disasters, you can help prevent death, injuries and property damage.
- Be aware that submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize the water, posing a lethal trap.
Wet Electrical Equipment
- Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet (furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, etc).
- For electrical appliances that have been submerged underwater, have them reconditioned by a qualified service repairman.
Make sure to take care with portable electric generators. Although generators can be a good source of power, if they are improperly installed or operated they can become deadly.
- Make sure the generator is properly grounded.
- Make sure to keep the generator dry.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator.
- Make sure extension cords used with the generator are free of cuts, worn insulation and have three-pronged plugs.
- Make sure not to overload the generator.
- Do not operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide very quickly.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install and are available at prices ranging from $12 to $30.
Downed Power Lines
Chances are that when there is a storm, there will be downed power lines. Even though power lines may be down, they can still carry an electric current strong enough to cause a serious injury or death.
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything that may be touching it.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with a downed power line – do not touch the person. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the power line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed power line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
- Do not drive over downed power lines.