Coping with Power Outages
When a storm or other circumstance causes a power outage, immediate action is taken by Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative to restore electric service as quickly and safely as possible. However, there are some steps you, as a part owner of this Cooperative, can take, before, during and after a power outage that will make it easier to cope with the outage.
Confirm the Outage
Before calling the Cooperative, check lights and appliances in other parts of the house. If all your lights are off, check with a neighbor to see if their power is off. Checking with neighbors about their power before calling the Cooperative will help us determine how widespread the power outage is.
Be Prepared for Power Outages
Storm Checklist: Necessities | Communications | Supplies | Comforts
If your lights go off during a storm, be prepared for the power outage. Assemble supplies to have on hand rather than rushing around when the storm is coming and waiting in long lines for milk or bread. Rotate your supplies to keep them fresh and use the following checklist to prepare for power outages:
- Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
- Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent cold air from escaping.
- Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
- Have a portable, battery-powered radio and alarm clock so you will be able to receive local weather reports and news bulletins. Arkansas Valley Electric works closely with local radio stations to keep the members informed about restoration efforts during major system contingencies.
- Have one non-portable phone that will work even if power is interrupted.
- Plan where to meet and how to communicate with family members if separated.
Keep essential family member contact information near your phone, in your wallet, and in your glove compartment.
- Keep plenty of gas in your car.
- Keep extra batteries, matches, propane, charcoal and firewood.
- Coordinate with neighbors for care of the elderly and disabled living alone.
- Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
- Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time. If you have a video camera and tapes, your family can make a storm documentary.
- Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished. Pre-moistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water.
- Use plastic trash bags and ties for garbage.
- Put first-aid kits in your home and car.
- Make sure you have cold weather clothing, foul weather gear, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Consider purchasing alternative UL-approved heating devices. For example, a fireplace insert or wood stove will keep the heat in your home instead of up the chimney.
- Use flashlights and other battery-operated lighting instead of candles.
- Keep fire extinguishers fully charged.
- Fill your bathtub with water for bathroom use before the storm (if you have a well).
- Protect Your Appliances: Turn off or unplug large appliances that come on automatically and disconnect sensitive electronic equipment such as DVD & Blu-Ray players, computers, and TVs to avoid possible damage from lightning or a power surge. Leave a light fixture turned on in several rooms to let you know when electricity is restored.
- Play it Safe: Assume that any downed power line or anything the line touches is energized. Although they may be touching the ground, the line could become energized at any moment. Never attempt to move trees from power lines. Notify your Cooperative immediately of any downed lines and let them handle the situation.
Check to see current weather conditions.
After the Power is Restored
Wait a few minutes and then turn on a few appliances at a time to prevent a sudden inrush of current on the power lines. Check food in refrigerators and freezers for signs of spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
To report a service interruption 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Members can access our automated outage reporting system by calling 1-866-862-8322 (1-866-TOAVECC). Click here for more information.
Please note: During major outages, phone lines may become congested and reporting your outage online via the Member Service Portal or mobile app may be a better option. DO NOT report outages on Facebook or Twitter!