Outage Preparation Tips

What to do in Case of Power Outages

Keeping your power on is our number one priority. Despite our best efforts, power outages do occur for a variety of reasons including strong seasonal storms, trees, squirrels, downed power lines, equipment failure and accidents.  

If your power is off:

  • Check your home's breaker panel (and any outdoor disconnects located below the meter) to make sure the outage is not due to a tripped breaker.
  • Call your neighbors to see if their power is off. This will help you determine if the problem exists within your home, or on our lines.
  • If you determine the problem is outside your home, call Mille Lacs Energy at 1-800-450-2191 or 927-2191. Do not assume that others have reported the outage.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food should keep for up to 48 hours in a freezer, if the door remains closed. If the outage persists, cover your refrigerator or freezer with a blanket, make arrangements to store food at another location, or purchase dry ice.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances that were on when the power went off, especially heat pumps, air conditioners or electric heat. But leave a light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Please be prepared for extended outages:

Please be prepared for extended outages:

  • Make sure one of the phones in your home is not a cordless phone as these use electricity and therefore do not work during power outages
  • Use a battery powered flashlight, not candles.
  • Keep a battery operated radio handy to listen for outage information and updates
  • Turn off electrical equipment you were using before the power went out
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food should keep for up to 48 hours in a freezer, if the door remains closed. If the outage persists, cover your refrigerator or freezer with a blanket, make arrangements to store food at another location, or purchase dry ice.
  • Essential supplies: flashlight, batteries, radio, extra supply of water, food.
  • Turn off and unplug your computer if you were using it. Buy a surge protector to protect the machine when power comes back on.

Winter Tips:

  • Stay inside – dress in warm, layered clothing, and cover up with extra blankets.
  • Close off unneeded rooms.
  • When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards and be sure to properly ventilate (keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it).
  • Stuff towels or rags underneath doors to keep in the heat.
  • Cover windows at night.
  • Maintain a regular diet. Food provides the body with energy for creating its own energy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Infants or persons over 65 are more susceptible to the cold, check on elderly or disabled friends or neighbors.  You may want to find an alternative location with friends or relatives if you cannot keep your home warm.
  • Be cautious when using alternative heating, lighting and cooking sources that may increase the risk of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Always stay away from downed power lines.

Please be assured that we are aware of your power loss and are working on it.

GENERATOR SAFETY

Use Portable Electric Generators Safely

Portable electric generators can offer many benefits when a long-term electrical outage occurs due to a storm. However, if generators are not used properly, things could turn deadly.

After Hurricane Katrina, for example, many people relied on generators. But the misuse of them caused five deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reported 51 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Follow these tips to prevent misuse of portable electrical generators:

  • Be sure to follow manufacturers’ directions for installation and operation.
  • To prevent electric shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded. The operation manual should provide correct grounding procedures.
  • Operate electric generators or other fuel-powered machines outside where deadly carbon monoxide fumes cannot enter the home.
  • Use the generator only in a well-ventilated and dry area located away from air intakes to the house. Do not use a generator in an attached garage.
  • Do not overload the generator by operating more appliances and equipment than the generator can handle. The operating instructions should have an output rating for the generator.
  • Individual appliances should be plugged directly into the receptacle outlet of the generator using appropriately sized extension cords to carry the electric load. Make sure the cords are rated for outdoor use, have a grounded, three-pronged plug, and are in good condition.
  • Do not run extension cords under rugs.
  • Never connect generators directly to your home’s wiring. The reverse flow of electricity can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.
  • Never plug a generator into a household outlet.
  • Do not refuel a generator while it is running.
  • Only store fuel outside of living areas and away from heat sources like water heater pilot lights.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
  • Keep children and pets away from generators.

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission, Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service

 

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