While powerful storms during warmer months can certainly lead to power outages, it is important to note that outages don't only happen during spring and summer. Snow and ice can cause electrical outages too, and it's important to take proper safety precautions to ensure you're well prepared this winter.
When melting snow drips on your natural gas meter during the day and refreezes at night, it can lead to vents becoming sealed due to being covered in ice. Clearing snow and ice from your natural gas meter is key to avoiding dangerous natural gas buildup indoors due to sealed vents.
We strongly recommend keeping the entire meter assembly clear of snow and ice. Gently remove snow or ice from the meter, associated piping, and the roofline above the meter. Check often to ensure melting snow isn’t dripping onto the meter from the roof or nearby trees. Use a shovel around the meter to move snow away; avoid using your snowblower near a meter.
If you choose to use a space heater, make sure you're using it safely. Ensure the heater has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, and read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels.
Additionally, inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections; don’t use it if they are frayed, worn, or damaged. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and don’t go to sleep with a space heater on.
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We recommend going through this checklist and assembling an easily accessible kit that you can rely on in the event of a power outage. The following are useful items to have in an outage, and remember to replace items you've used up, such as batteries, food, and water, after the outage.
Emergency standby generators can supply electricity to your home or business during a power outage. Operating a standby generator can be a lifesaver during a power outage, but only if it is properly installed and maintained. Understand the hazards, and familiarize yourself with these important safety precautions before you purchase or begin to use one.
You can purchase a small, portable, gasoline-powered outdoor unit and run extension cords from the generator directly to appliances such as lamps, refrigerators, or electric space heaters. Always run such generators outside where there is adequate ventilation — never inside the house.
A licensed electrician can connect a larger backup generator to a building's main wiring panel. These generators can be used during electric outages to power essential medical devices, furnaces, air conditioners, or well pumps (for those not connected to a municipal water supply). Your electrician will see that the setup meets national, state, and local electrical codes and ensure compatibility with our power system.
Improper installation and use of standby generators may violate state or local electrical codes and can severely endanger those working to restore your power. During power outages, our crews work from maps to locate disconnects. Improperly connected generators may re-energize lines that otherwise would be off, creating "back feed." Back feed occurs when electric power is introduced to the utility's power lines from generators with faulty connections. In the case of back feed, lines expected to be de-energized are in fact live, and could potentially electrocute crew members attempting to make repairs.
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