All About Outages

Last year, Cass County Electric Cooperative’s reliability rating was 99.9828%. For the average person living on the CCEC system, power was out for less than two hours in 2013. But, with more than 39,000 members in our service territory, more than 4,700 miles of line on our system and 10 counties served by our cooperative, sometimes an issue arises and contributes to that .0172% of the time where you find yourself without power. While we strive to provide consistent, reliable power at all times, construction, storms and even the occasional squirrel can create a disruption to your service — and we want you to be prepared for those events if they happen.

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Readying Yourself Before

Don’t let an outage catch you unprepared. In the event an unexpected outage would occur, it’s a good idea to have the following items on-hand in your home:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Gallon jugs of water
  • Non-perishable food items
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Back-up cell phone battery charger (“juice packs”)
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Coolers and ice to keep refrigerated food cold
  • A back-up generator (Note: In the event of an outage, do NOT connect your generator to your home’s power system, unless you have had a professional install it this way. Connecting your generator to the system yourself can send electricity back down power lines and have fatal consequences for those working to restore your power.)

Reacting During

When you do notice the power has gone out in your home, it can be inconvenient and even scary. But being aware of what to do during an outage can make your experience much easier. Follow these steps if you find yourself in an outage situation:

  • If you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, visit our social media page to see if any information has been reported on the outage yet. Many of your questions will be updated there first, so checking these sites can ensure you stay updated as we have more information. You can also view the outage map at outage.kwh.com to see which areas are affected by the outage.
  • Call 701-356-4499 or 1-888-277-4424 to report an outage. Our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system helps members call in with specific information that allows CCEC to pinpoint the problem. For text updates related to outages, you can also text CCINFO to 85700 for related announcements.
  • Turn off or disconnect some of your major electrical appliances and equipment. When the power returns, it could create a surge that could damage equipment that is still plugged in.
  • Avoid opening and closing your freezer and refrigerator, when possible. When consuming food in a prolonged outage, use the perishable food in your refrigerator first, then food from your freezer. Consume non-perishable items last.
  • When using back-up sources of electricity, never use them inside your home or garage, as they can release carbon monoxide, which is extremely dangerous in a non-ventilated area.
  • If the power outage occurs in the winter, dress in layers to stay warm. Be sure to wear a hat and gloves, as much of your body heat escapes from your head and hands.

Recovering After

  • Be sure to stay away from and report any downed power lines near you.
  • Check refrigerated food that was exposed to higher temperatures before consuming. As a general rule, if food from your refrigerator was exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F for more than two hours, throw it out. If food from your freezer is colder than 40° F or still has ice crystals on it, you can generally refreeze it.
  • If you experienced inconveniences that could have been prevented during the outage (i.e. your cell phone died), make a note to yourself to prepare for those situations so you are ready in the event you experience another outage in the future (i.e. purchase a back-up battery charger).

We never hope you have to use these tips, but we always want you to be prepared in the event that you do. If you have questions about how to prepare for or handle a power outage, comment here or give us a call. It’s better to ask them now.

 

This entry was posted in Electricity, Outage Preparation, Power Outage, Safety, Storms. Bookmark the permalink.

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