Tip of the Month: Power Outages: Welcome to the Dark Side

February 10, 2010

February 11, 2010 — Our area has experienced its snowiest winter in history, bringing with it widespread power outages. Power outages interrupt your life the most when you are unprepared. Being informed and having supplies ready can lessen the impact of an outage.

There are four primary power companies that service our area; each experienced interruptions to service with these recent storms. If you lose power or see downed lines, call your power company to report it:

Dominion Power: 1-888-667-3000
Central Virginia Electric Co-op: 1-800-367-2832
Rappahannock Electric Coop: 1-800-552-3904
Appalachian Power: 1-800-956-4237

Each company has interactive Web sites with good information – everything from how to report an outage to safety tips during an outage. Visit these sites before an outage to be sure you are informed on what to expect.

Tips to minimize the disruption of an outage:

• Be sure your emergency kit is fully stocked.
• If you have a well and depend on an electrical pump, be sure to have plenty of water stored for drinking. When weather is threatening, consider filling a bathtub for flushing, washing up and other general uses.
• If using alternative means of heat, be sure to use only as directed and monitor it closely. Never heat an enclosed structure with an open flame. (see heating safety)
• Keep your food safe during a power outage. (see food tips in power outages)
• If you have a generator, be sure it is ready, fueled and safe. (see generator tips)

This information is a compilation from Dominion Power and the U.S. Fire Administration. For more, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.