Preparing for power outages

Power outages do happen. OPALCO continues to improve the reliability of the system. Still, there are circumstances beyond our control such as weather, car accidents, equipment failure and bird or animal events that can cause outages. With OPALCO’s modern, automated distribution system, outages are less frequent and can be resolved quickly. When scheduled outages are necessary, OPALCO calls members in the area to be affected in advance.

To prepare for scheduled or unscheduled outages

  1. Install surge protection to safeguard electronic, computer and other sensitive equipment and appliances in advance. Members are responsible for protecting their own equipment and appliances.
  2. Place flashlights in handy locations and refresh the batteries as needed throughout the year.
  3. Keep an old-style phone (one that doesn’t require electricity) and/or battery-powered cell phone in the home to call in the outage or communicate with family and neighbors.
  4. Keep important phone numbers by your phone for doctors, relatives, neighbors and friends. Dial 911 for emergencies only.
  5. Know where to find each utility shut-off (electricity, water, propane) and know how to turn off each one. Keep the necessary tools for each shut-off within reach.
  6. Assemble an outage box of supplies that includes flashlights, batteries, a portable radio, at least one gallon of water, small supply of food, playing cards and board games and any other supplies essential to your household’s comfort and needs.
  7. Make sure you have access to extra blankets or sleeping bags, warm clothes (especially socks and hats), firewood and kindling, matches, manual can opener, bottled water and canned or dried food.
  8. If you have an automatic garage door opener, check with the instructions or manufacturer to learn how to open the door without power.
  9. If you have an electric well pump, plan ahead to meet your water needs. In the case of a planned outage, turn pump off at breaker (may be separate from house breakers).
  10. Keep some cash handy to pay for purchases, as local ATM machines may not work.
  11. Store some water in plastic containers in your refrigerator or freezer. The chilled or frozen water will keep perishables cold longer in the event of a lengthy power interruption.
  12. Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank at least half full (gas stations depend on electricity to operate pumps).

An excellent resource for emergency preparedness is the San Juan County Department of Emergency Management. Check out their resources for being prepared.