Frequently Asked Questions About Outages
In the event of an outage, SVEC wants you and your family to be prepared before, during and after the event. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding outages and power restoration.
Before the Storm
How should I prepare for outages?
SVEC suggests creating an outage preparation kit that includes a portable radio, batteries, corded phone and a flashlight. Store this kit in a designated place so it is easy to find. Find more information on our site at Outage Preparation.
What about member-owners with special medical needs?
Your Cooperative maintains a life support registry which is a list of member-owners who have medical equipment that requires electricity. You can learn more and sign up for the life support registry by using this online form (22 KB). This program allows SVEC to give member-owners with special medical needs priority in the restoration of their electric service, whenever it is reasonably possible to do so.
Following severe thunder, wind, snow, or ice storms, it’s important to remember damage to SVEC’s distribution system may be extreme. In that case, it could take numerous hours, or even several days, to complete repairs. In case of severe storms, member-owners who must have electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan. The plan could include arrangements to move to an alternative location, use of a portable generator, and/or installation of a battery backup on important electrical devices.
How do I protect appliances in my house?
A lightning strike or downed power lines can send a surge of electricity through your home, potentially damaging appliances. Computers, TVs, and other electronic equipment are expensive investments that are worth protecting from storm-related damage. Surge protectors provide a defense against power spikes and surges. Contact SVEC for more information regarding the TESCO Surge Protection System ( 371 KB).
If the Power Goes Out
Does SVEC know I have lost electric service after a storm?
Immediately after a storm, SVEC is aware of damage to distribution circuits, power lines, and substations. However, to ensure we are also aware of your outage, please call your Cooperative anytime your power is out at 1-800-234-7832. Please do not assume that others have reported the outage. By calling any time you experience an outage, you help our crews respond more efficiently and restore your service more quickly.
What can I do to help get my power back on?
Before calling to report an outage:
Check your home’s breaker panel (and any outdoor disconnects) to make sure the outage is not due to a tripped breaker. Call your neighbors to see if their power is off. This will help you determine if the problem exists within your home, or on SVEC lines. If you determine the problem is outside your home, call your Cooperative to report your outage. Please have the following information available when you call: account name, street address, home phone, and if you know it, the cause of the outage.
Is a generator safe to use when I lose power?
A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, especially in helping keep the frozen food in your refrigerator cool. But, it can also be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Please view the Generator Safety ( 14 KB) article for more information.
Be aware that it’s against the law, and a violation of electrical codes, to connect a generator to your home’s electrical circuits without a generator transfer switch automatic-interrupt device. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping to restore power in your area.
How SVEC Responds to an Outage
How do you decide whose power to restore first?
The outage restoration process begins at the point where the power feeds into SVEC’s system. This could be a substation, transmission line, or a main distribution line. After these repairs have been made, crews work on remaining outages and correct the trouble, beginning with areas serving the greatest number of consumers and continuing until electricity is restored to each consumer’s home.
SVEC crews are in the area, why didn’t they stop?
If you see an SVEC service crew passing but not stopping, it is because work must first be performed at a nearby location before electric service can be restored to you and your neighbors. Following the outage restoration process ensures all consumers have their power restored as quickly and as safely as possible.
Why does my neighbor have power and I do not?
It depends on the cause of the outage. Remember to check and make sure your power is not out because of an electrical problem inside your home, such as a tripped breaker. If your neighbor has electricity and you do not, more than likely, they receive their electricity from a different power line or are located on a different circuit than the circuit your home is on.
Why can’t you tell me how long it will take to restore my power?
Each outage is a result of different circumstances, and some may take longer to identify and restore than others. As a result, during storm-related outages, restoration information may not be immediately available.
What should I do if a power line falls in my yard?
Consider all fallen wires to be energized, regardless of whether or not they appear to be safe. Report the fallen power line to your Cooperative immediately. Make sure your children, pets, and neighbors stay away from the power line and any objects it may be touching.
If power goes out, do I need to throw out all the food in my refrigerator and freezer?
To minimize the loss of food during a power outage, limit the number of times you open your refrigerator or freezer door. If the doors remain closed, refrigerated food can remain safely cold for about four hours; frozen food can remain safe for up to two days if the freezer is full and the doors remain closed. Learn more about food safety in a power outage by viewing the American Red Cross Food Safety web page.
What is a supplier outage?
Some situations can arise causing SVEC to lose service from the supplier of its electricity. When this occurs in your area, SVEC consumers lose service because the electricity supplied to the Cooperative’s lines is interrupted at its source. Although not a direct result of damage to SVEC’s lines, this situation still causes an outage. SVEC works closely with the supplier of its power to minimize these occurrences.