Preparing for Power Outages

We all rely on electricity. It powers our everyday world. Interruptions to service can be inconvenient and frustrating. That’s why your Grays Harbor PUD is constantly working to prevent outages year round. But even with a well-maintained, reliable system, its impossible to prevent all outages. Preparing for an outage can help minimize the impact.
Before the power goes out:
There are a few things you can do to prepare for outages.

  • Prepare an outage kit including:
    • Flashlight
    • Blankets
    • Fresh Batteries
    • Sleeping bags
    • Battery-operated radio
    • Candles
    • Supply of drinking water
    • Candleholders
    • Non-perishable food
    • Non-cordless, landline phone
    • Manual can opener
  • If you have an automatic garage door opener, learn how to open it manually.
  • Protect sensitive electrical equipment with surge suppressors.

What to do when the power goes out:

  • Check to see if other houses in your neighborhood are dark. If you are the only house without power, check your service panel or breaker box for tripped breakers or blown fuses.
  • If power is out to your area, use your landline phone (if possible) and call the Grays Harbor PUD Outage Reporting Hotline at 360-537-3721 or 1-888-541-5923. Follow the instructions provided on the automated system.
  • Leave an outdoor light switched on as well as a light inside your home, so both you and our crews will know when your electricity has been restored.
  • Turn down your thermostat and turn off your water heater circuit breaker. This will help reduce demand for electricity when power is restored. If the demand is too great, the system will overload and cause the power to go off again.
  • Turn off and unplug all sensitive electrical equipment such as computers, television sets, stereos and microwave ovens. It will protect your equipment in case there is a change in voltage as the power comes back on. It’s also a good idea to use a surge suppressor to protect your electronic equipment. Major appliances that are too large for a surge suppressor (microwaves, refrigerators, washing machines, ranges, and dryers) should be unplugged or powered off at the breaker panel.
  • Once your power has been restored, wait at least 20 minutes before turning equipment on. Sometimes there’s a fluctuation in voltage when electricity is restored.
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible so the cold air stays inside until the power comes back on. Food will stay frozen in a full freezer for about two days and for about one day if the freezer is half full. The thawing rate depends on what kind of food is in the freezer (meat will stay frozen longer than baked goods). You can use dry ice to keep food frozen for a longer period of time.
  • If your water pump is powered by electricity, an outage could restrict your water use. Conserve water and store as much as possible in closed or covered containers, preferably somewhere where it won’t freeze.
  • Don’t burn charcoal briquettes indoors – not even in your fireplace.
  • Don’t operate a generator indoors.
  • To ensure your safety, avoid areas where PUD crews are working.

Be Safe! Outage Do’s and Don’ts:
Downed Power Lines are Dangerous!

  • Never approach or touch a downed power line. Always assume downed lines are “live” even if they aren’t sparking.
  • If a power line falls across your vehicle while you are inside of it, DO NOT GET OUT. Wait for help to arrive.
  • If you must leave your car because of fire or other danger, do not step out of the car. If you touch the car and the ground at the same time, you will be shocked. Instead, jump clear, land with your feet together, and shuffle away keeping both feet together and on the ground.
  • If you see a downed line, call the Grays Harbor PUD at (360) 532-4220 immediately.

Portable Generators-What you need to know.

  • Never operate a portable generator indoors. Exhaust gasses can be deadly.
  • Always operate generators according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Route extension cords from the generator to prevent tripping in the darkened house, but never run them under a rug or otherwise concealed where cord damage could go unnoticed.
  • Consult the operator’s manual for both the appliance and the generator to correctly size the extension cords and keep from overloading the system. Improperly sized extension cords are extreme fire hazards.
  • If you are operating a generator during a power outage, you may be asked by the Grays Harbor PUD to turn off the generator as they prepare to restore power to your home or business. It is critical that generators are turned off to ensure the safety of workers.

Be Careful with Candles!
Be cautious with the use of candles. Never leave a candle burning unattended.