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Tips to Prepare a Winter Power Outage Plan

Did you know that power outages can occur without stormy conditions? Cold weather generally puts higher stress on the equipment used to generate and deliver electricity. With temperatures plummeting to record lows this winter, experts urge homeowners to establish a power outage plan now that can be implemented if disaster strikes.

What are some of the most common causes of power outages?


Lightning is a common cause of outages during storms. Lightning strikes can hit our electrical equipment, causing you to lose power. Lightning can also strike trees, which may fall onto power lines and cause outages.

Ice storms create a buildup of ice on power lines and on trees. The weight of the ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to fall onto power lines – knocking the lines and poles down and breaking them, or knocking the lines onto each other, causing an outage.

Wind, Tornadoes and Hurricanes
High winds or fallen trees may cause power lines to touch and short out, causing an outage. Wind may also blow tree limbs or entire trees onto the power lines, causing the lines to fall to the ground and possibly even break the lines and poles.

Rain and Flooding
Heavy rains can cause flooding in certain areas. Floods can cause damage to both above-ground and underground electrical equipment. To prevent major damage to the equipment, energy technicians may need to shut it down, affecting service to some customers.

Here are a few tips to prepare a power outage plan:

  • Take stock of your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottle water, non-perishable foods, and medicines and replenish immediately if needed.
  • Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is readily available and operational.
  • Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs to make sure they have necessary emergency supplies.
  • If you lose power, turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible – this will help with restoration efforts and reduce immediate demand on power lines.
  • Do not attempt to heat your home with a gas grill or by bringing your generator inside. Only operate such equipment outdoors in well-ventilated areas, and follow manufacturer instructions.
  • When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning electrically-powered devices back on.

Source: Duke Energy

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