Know the do’s and don’ts of winter safety

Use our guide to stay safe during extreme weather

Winter is in full swing, and during extreme weather, outages are possible. During an emergency, it’s important for you to know what to do — and what not to do — so you and your family stay safe. Use our guide to help you stay safe.

DO: Check your breakers before reporting an outage to PEC.

Sometimes you can restore your power with the flip of a breaker switch! Start with the fuse box. First, hold your hand near the box to check if there is heat coming off the panel. If there is, step back, report your outage to PEC and call an electrician. If the panel doesn’t feel warm, check the switches for any that are turned toward the “off” position — these are your tripped breakers. Flip any tripped breakers back to “on.” 

If the power comes back on, make sure to close the box properly. If power isn’t restored, go outside to the other breaker box, usually next to your electric meter or HVAC unit on the side or in the back of your home. Follow the steps above and do not touch outside breakers if it is raining or wet.

If the power is still off, report your outage.

DON’T: Wait to report your outage.

Don’t assume someone in your area has reported your outage, as they may not be experiencing a problem. You can report your outage by texting “outage” to 25022 with the phone number that is registered to your account, or by calling the outage line at 888-883-3379.

DO: Prepare an emergency kit.

Make sure you have the following items together so that you’re prepared for an outage or emergency during cold weather:

  • Charged devices/portable charger
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • An alternative heat source and/or firewood
  • Fuel for your vehicles or your generator
  • Batteries
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Your PEC account number

DON’T: Run generators indoors.

While generators can be good sources to keep your home energized during outages, they should not be used indoors or anywhere that exhaust could enter the home, as carbon monoxide emitted from the generator is poisonous. Gas ovens and vehicles should also not be used as a source of heat indoors for the same reason.

DO: Wear extra layers to stay warm.

When temperatures cool down, layer your clothing. This can help you stay warm and keep you from straining your heating system.

DON’T: Take an electric blanket to sleep.

Electric blankets are a great way to keep warm while cozying up on the couch, but they shouldn’t be used to sleep with. While newer blankets are less likely to cause problems, it’s best to avoid sleeping with them to protect yourself from burns or fire risk.

DO: Check cities in your area for warming centers during prolonged outages.

During extreme weather, organizations in your area may be operating warming centers. Find warming center information on your municipality’s website or at tdem.texas.gov/warm.

DON’T: Wait it out.

If waiting for power restoration becomes dangerous, look for warming centers in your area or go to a friend or family member’s home who has power.

Medical Necessity Program

If you rely on life-sustaining medical equipment, you may be eligible for our Medical Necessity Program. After you sign up, we will attempt to notify you well in advance when planned outages or service interruptions for nonpayment are scheduled. We can’t guarantee uninterrupted power, and you should always have a plan in place. Learn more at pec.coop/medical-necessity.

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