SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — When hot weather occurs in California, the state’s energy supply is always a concern.
Rolling blackouts are sometimes used by utility companies to avoid over-straining the power grid, but unplanned power outages are always a possibility as more electricity use puts more stress on the energy grid.
When energy use is expected for hot summer days, SMUD and PG&E offer ways to prepare for a power outage.
Preparing for a power outage
According to PG&E, here are steps you can take to minizine the safety risks and inconvenience caused by a power outage:
- Keep important phone numbers, such as hospitals, fire departments, police, friends, and relatives in a convenient location in case you need emergency help and other assistance.
- Have a backup plan to maintain any life support equipment.
- Keep a cellphone or hardwired, single-line telephone on hand. Cordless phones don’t work without electricity.
- Keep a flashlight with extra, fresh batteries in a convenient place. Avoid using candles because of the fire risk. If you must light candles, use extreme caution.
- Turn off heat-producing appliances such as ovens, stovetops, and irons during an outage. This practice helps eliminate fire hazards that can occur when power is restored.
- Protect sensitive electronic equipment such as televisions and computers with surge suppressors. Unplug any such equipment that is in use when the power goes out.
- Ensure that food stays cold by keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. You can keep the refrigerator cold by placing ice in plastic containers inside it. A full freezer stays colder, longer.
- Keep nonperishable food that doesn’t require cooking on hand. Ensure that you have a manual can opener.
- Inform PG&E if you have a generator and avoid using it unless you’re it was installed safely and correctly. An incorrectly installed generator can damage your property.
As for SMUD customers, to prepare for an outage, the company recommends putting together a basic emergency kit consisting of:
- Fresh drinking water
- Extra batteries
- Wind-up clock
- Manual can opener
- Battery-operated radio or TV
What to do when your power goes out
For SMUD customers, you can go to the outages pages on the company’s website and you can report an outage, according to the frequently asked questions section on the website.
When reporting an outage, you’ll be asked for your address and either your primary phone number, meter number, or account number. Another option is to call SMUD at 1-888-456-7683 and provide information on their outage line.
When waiting for your power to be restored, SMUD recommends turning off all electrical appliances and lights — except for one light that SMUD crews can see from the street.
The reason for leaving one light on is for the crew to know when things are back to normal and help prevent a power surge when the neighborhood is back online.
If your home is the only one without power, SMUD said the problem could be the electrical panel, also known as a breaker box, attached outside of your home. Resetting the breakers may be the solution, according to the company.
Here’s how you can reset your breaker, according to SMUD:
- Make sure your hands are dry and you are not standing in water
- Check to see if the main circuit breaker has switched to the “off” or “trip” position. If it has, then move it fully to the “off” position, and then over the “on” position.
- If that does not restore power, you can call SMUD’s toll-free outage line at 1-888-456-7683