Power Outage FAQs
How do I report a power outage?
Outages should be reported to us by calling 888-883-3379, using the SmartHub website or mobile app, or by texting the word “outage” to 25022 from the number associated with your account (message and data rates may apply). Before you report an outage, please visit our reporting power outages page for more information and for steps you can take to help us determine if the service problem exists within your home’s electrical system or on our system. Taking this step could help get your power back on more quickly.
What can I do to help get my power back on?
Please visit our reporting power outages page for the steps you can take to help us determine if the service problem exists within your home’s electrical system or on our system.
What do I do after I’ve reported an outage?
After you’ve reported an outage to PEC by calling 888-883-3379 or via SmartHub:
- Turn off all electrical appliances that were on when service was disrupted, leaving a lamp on so you’ll know when power is restored.
- Turn off the circuit breakers to major appliances. To help preserve food items, leave the doors to your refrigerator and freezer closed.
- Once power is restored, avoid overloading by turning appliances back on in 15-minute intervals.
How should I prepare for outages?
We suggest creating an outage preparation kit that includes items such as a portable radio, batteries, phone, cash, bottled water and a flashlight. Store this kit in a designated place so it is easy to find. Visit our be prepared for outages page for more information.
How does PEC manage calls during a widespread power outage?
During widespread outages, our automated system takes members’ calls at 888-883-3379 and those submitted via SmartHub and text and routes outage information to service crews more quickly than a manual call system, helping us restore your power more efficiently.
To report outages using this automated system, you’ll need your account number or the phone number currently associated with your account. Your account number and location are reported automatically if you use SmartHub to report your outage. Please make sure your current phone number is on file with us.
Does PEC know that I have lost electric service during a storm?
Our control room continually monitors our electric distribution system. During a storm, we monitor for damage to distribution circuits, power lines, and substations. To ensure we are also aware of your outage, please report it to us at 888-883-3379 or via SmartHub. Please do not assume that neighbors may have reported the outage.
You also can use SmartHub or refer to the outage center map to see whether your service address is part of a larger reported outage.
How do you decide whose power to restore first?
The outage restoration process begins at the point where electricity feeds into our system. This could be at a substation, transmission line, or a main distribution line. After these repairs have been made, crews work on remaining outages, beginning with areas serving the greatest number of members and continuing until electricity is restored to all members. See our outage restoration page for more information.
Why would a service crew pass by without restoring the power at my house?
If you see a service crew passing by your house without stopping, it may be 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 customers have their power restored as quickly and safely as possible.
Why does my neighbor have power and I do not?
It depends on the cause of the outage. Remember to make sure your power is not out because of an electrical problem inside your home, such as a tripped breaker. If an electrical problem in your home is not the cause and your neighbor has electricity and you do not, they may receive their electricity from a different power line or their home is located on a different circuit than your home.
What should members with special medical needs do to prepare for an outage?
Following severe storms, damage to our electric distribution system may be extensive. In that case, it could take hours, or even several days, to complete repairs. In case of severe storms and power outages, members who must have a constant supply of electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan. The plan could include arrangements to move to an alternate location, use of a portable generator and/or installation of a battery backup on important electrical devices.
Members with special medical needs can be disconnected for not paying their bill or for defaulting on payment arrangements. Our disconnection procedures are outlined in our Tariff and Business Rules for Electric Service. We provide various notices before disconnection occurs and work with members on payment arrangements. As with power outages, members who must have a constant supply of electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan.
Why can’t you tell me how long it will take to restore my power?
The best source for an estimate of power restoration time is the service crew. During an outage, they are working to locate faults and restore power and they don’t always have the time or ability (due to safety reasons or a lack of a communications signal) to provide our control center with estimates or updates. As a result, restoration information may not be immediately available or may be hard to determine with accuracy.
Each outage is a result of different circumstances and some outages may take longer to identify and restore than others. Sometimes damage to our electric distribution system is extensive (lines down, broken poles, etc.), or equipment locations are hard or impossible to get to depending on the conditions. Lineworkers may have to patrol lines and fix problems on foot, as roads or right-of-ways may be impassable for service vehicles because of flooding, ice, downed trees, or other conditions.
What should I do if a power line falls in my yard?
Report the fallen line to PEC immediately by calling 888-883-3379. Consider all fallen power lines to be energized, regardless of whether they appear to be safe. Stay as far away from them as possible, and make sure your children, pets and neighbors stay far away from the power line and any objects it may be touching. For more information on being safe around downed power lines, visit our downed power lines page.
How do I protect appliances in my house from power surges?
Use properly rated surge protectors to provide a defense against power spikes and surges. A lighting strike or downed power line can send a surge of electricity through your home that can potentially damage appliances, computers, televisions, and other electronic equipment.
Is it safe to use a generator when I lose power?
A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, but it also can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. 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 fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping restore power in your area.
Before you install a generator, please call us at 888-554-4732. Visit our generator safety page for more tips.
What is a supplier outage?
The electricity we distribute to our members is purchased from wholesale power providers. Sometimes, situations arise that cause PEC to lose service from these suppliers, in turn causing our members to lose service because the electricity supplied to our lines is interrupted at its source. Although not a direct result of damage to our lines, these situations still cause outages. We work closely with our power suppliers to minimize these occurrences.
Why isn’t the outage in my area mentioned on social media?
Our social media profiles are not tied to our outage reporting system and are not continuously monitored. If you experience an outage, please report it by calling 888-883-3379, via SmartHub, or by texting the word “outage” to 25022 from the number associated with your account.
While even one of our members without power is a problem we take very seriously, to avoid posting information on our social media pages that is not relevant to the majority of our members, in most cases we try to post only information about outages that affect about one percent (2,500) of our active accounts for at least 30 minutes.
What is a pole top fire?
Pole top fires can occur when moisture in the air combines with dust and dirt built up on power lines or insulators, which are used to attach lines to wooden poles. It creates a path by which electricity can travel from lines to the wooden pole or cross arm they are attached to and is known as “tracking.”
When this happens, the pole or cross arm can heat up and catch fire. The fire damage, or the resulting short circuit, can cause an outage. Poles damaged by fire usually need to be replaced, or the line may need to be repaired. Drought and humid weather without rain are common factors that contribute to the risk of pole top fires. Other conditions include fog, light rain, or light snow can provide the right conditions for pole top fires to occur. Insulators damaged by lightning or other issues may also cause a pole fire.
What can I do to help prevent outages?
One of the easiest ways members can help us increase the reliability of our electric distribution is to report trees growing near our lines and facilities. While everyone appreciates the beauty and shade provided by trees, but branches growing too close to our overhead power lines can cause outages when they contact or fall on the lines, especially during severe weather such as high winds or ice storms.
Request tree-care service online or call us at 888-554-4732 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and we will send a crew to trim the vegetation near our lines. You should never trim trees around power lines yourself! Working around high-voltage electric lines is dangerous and can have deadly consequences.
The power is off at my location but the outage map says there are no current outages. How can that be?
The power may be out at your home or business for a number of reasons. The online outage map only displays those outages likely to indicate an issue with the system and not an individual member’s location. If you experience an outage, please call our toll-free outage reporting system at 888-883-3379, report your location via SmartHub, or text the word “outage” to 25022 from the number associated with your account to make sure we’re aware of your issue and dispatch a service crew.
The estimated restoration time for my outage is unknown. What does that mean?
The best source for an estimate of power restoration time is the service crew. During an outage, they are working to locate faults and restore power and they don’t always have the time or ability (due to safety reasons or a lack of a communications signal) to provide our control center with estimates or updates. As a result, restoration information may not be immediately available or may be hard to determine with accuracy. In those cases the estimated restoration times are unavailable.
Where can I find more information about generator safety?
You can find more information at our generator safety page. To learn more, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) portable generator safety fact sheet.