Outage Preparation

Be Prepared Just In Case

CPI’s mission is to provide members with reliable service – day and night. Employees are constantly at work maintaining equipment, removing trees from rights-of-way, and upgrading the Cooperative’s power system.

Despite our best efforts, severe and unusual weather can wreak havoc and cause a power outage that can last for hours or days. Snow and ice, high winds and lightning are a few examples of natural conditions that can seriously damage power equipment in a large area. Even with crews working around-the-clock, repairs are time consuming, difficult and often dangerous.

We have developed a list of suggestions that can help you during the long hours of an outage.

Check out our winter safety guide available here.

Always be prepared!

Put together an emergency kit that is easily accessible in case of a lengthy power outage or other natural event. Supplies should include:

  • Access to a flashlight, radio & fresh batteries. Always keep the batteries separate until you are ready to use them.
  • Candles & matches.
  • Bottled drinking water. Be sure to store at least one gallon per person per day. If a storm is forecast, fill the bathtub with water so bathroom facilities can still be used by pouring a bucket of water down the toilet to create a vacuum flush.
  • If you have a fireplace or woodstove, keep kindling and dry firewood on hand.
  • Clothing. Wear extra layers and cover your head with a hat. Have sleeping bags and blankets handy too.
  • Easy to prepare food items. Purchase items that don’t require much cooking – canned or instant soups, stews or chili, packaged freeze-dried meals, and protein or breakfast bars are good to have on hand.
  • Gas camp stoves, lanterns or barbecues. NEVER use a camp stove or barbecue indoors! Be sure to use any lanterns on a flat, stable and non-flammable surface. Make sure to have extra fuel for cooking outdoors.
  • Ample supply of essential prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs. During a storm, road travel may not be possible for several days.
  • First aid kit. Make sure that all of the supplies are filled ready to go.
  • Games. Board games and cards are fun and handy to pass the time.

What to Do and Not Do when the Power Goes Off

If the lights go off, know what steps to take to be comfortable, safe and help the Co-op restore service quickly.

  • Check your electrical panel. Look for tripped breakers or blown fuses. Try to reset the breakers by switching them OFF then ON.
  • Call CPI @ (541) 929-3124. If the power does not return report it to the utility using our automated outage line by pressing one on your touchtone phone. By leaving a message about the outage in your area on this system we are able to process the information and schedule it for restoration in the quickest and safest way possible. Remember to report any flashes, bangs or trees in lines that can help repair crews locate damage.
  • Turn off major appliances. The water heater and heating system breakers need to be turned off to avoid overloading your circuits when the power is restored. Unplug any voltage-sensitive equipment.
  • Install surge protectors to protect voltage sensitive equipment. You can purchase high quality surge protection devices from a variety of online dealers and local electricians.
  • Switch on an outside light. This may assist our crews in determining whether or not your power has been restored late into the night.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food in a refrigerator will last 12 to 24 hours if the doors are kept closed. A full freezer can last 24 to 48 hours. Helpful Hint: You can drape a sleeping bag over your refrigerator or freezer for added insulating value in case of an extended power outage.
  • Listen to radio reports. Keep either a battery operated or battery free (hand crank) radio on hand for emergencies. During an extended outage, please listen to the local radio stations for updates and information.
  • NEVER GO NEAR OR TOUCH A DOWNED POWER LINE.

NEVER WIRE A PORTABLE GENERATOR DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL.

Important:

Remember these tips during an extended outage. It’s easier on everyone involved. This information is very important.

  • Please let the repair crews do their job. It’s tempting to stop crews and ask questions about when the power is going to be restored, but this only delays the restoration process. Remember that while the crews want to be helpful, they also want to restore your power quickly so they too can get home to their families.
  • Be a good neighbor. Severe storms usually increase the number of accidents and medical problems. Remember this increases the response time for service agencies. You may want to organize people in your area to check on each other and lend assistance.
  • If not used correctly, portable generators can cause fatal accidents involving the workers on the lines. Plug appliances into the generator. DO NOT connect household breaker circuits to the generator without a “double-throw switch” installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Emergency water sources. Run off from roof tops can be collected and used for washing, but do not drink it. A water heater can supply drinking water. Be sure the breaker is OFF before you drain it, and be sure to fill it before turning the breaker back on.
  • Keep the freezer full. Milk jugs filled with water and placed in a half-full freezer can be a supply of both water and ice in an emergency. Also, it will keep the freezer colder longer if it is full. Check into purchasing dry ice to help prevent spoilage.