Back to Blog

Winter is on the way!

OPALCO is here to help you prepare for power outages and assist with winter heating bills

OPALCO keeps the lights on 99.87% (2021) of the time – but storms happen. As we approach the winter storm season and our coldest temperatures, it is a good time to get ready for potential power outages: replenish your battery supply, stock your pantry with non-perishable foods, fill your gas tank or charge your EV, and make sure your phones and computers are fully charged.  Are you prepared?

What should you do when the lights go out?

  • Look around: are others also out of power? If not, check your breakers.
  • Call OPALCO at 360-376-3599 to report the outage – or use your SmartHub account (ask us how).
  • Grab your flashlight and turn off sensitive electronics and equipment to protect them when the power comes back on – and leave one light on to let you know when the power’s back up.
  • Grab an extra blanket and get comfortable.

Where can you find information about power outages?

  • During an outage, OPALCO posts updates on a recorded phone line, the webpage (, Facebook and Twitter. The outage map is updated every ten minutes during an outage.
  • Your OPALCO SmartHub account will give you specific information about outages at your location and you can even sign up for text or email alerts with SmartHub.
  • If you don’t have access to the internet during an outage, find an “outage buddy:” someone you can call during an outage (can be someone on the mainland) who does have internet to help keep you up to date.
  • OPALCO has a 24/7 call dispatch and call center to keep information and crews rolling through the night.

My bill is always higher in the winter – where can I get assistance paying my bill?

  • Seniors and lower-income households can get a credit on their bill every month with Energy Assist. Apply online or through your family resource center.
  • During the heating season (Oct-April), members in need can apply for Pal Grant to help with a high bill or difficult circumstance. Apply online or through your family resource center.
  • Consider budget billing: it spreads your bill out over the whole year to keep the amount predictable and manageable. The best time to sign up for budget billing is in the spring.

Power outages are challenging for everyone – especially the courageous lineworkers who work through the night in all kinds of weather to restore power and repair our system. With a little advance preparation and by putting safety first, our island communities will continue to thrive through the winter months. Contact us with any questions:

You may also like...


OPALCO Board Passes 2023 Budget and Rates

The 2023 OPALCO annual budget was approved at the November 17th board meeting including a 6% rate increase for all members, funding for construction of the Bailer Hill Community Solar … Read more

Quick Fact: OPALCO Tidal Energy Pilot Project

Tidal Energy to Increase Energy Resilience and Advance Renewable Energy Goals Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) is a non-profit cooperative electric utility providing service in San Juan County, WA … Read more

Quick Fact: Climate Change News Review – September 2022

As the climate emergency accelerates, energy and decarbonization are becoming regular topics in mainstream news, social media and research. Below, we review several notable items from the past month that … Read more