What To Do When the Lights Go Out
There are many causes of power outages – high winds, severe storms, accidents, equipment failures and more. Major storms or other natural disasters sometimes cause wide-spread outages affecting many consumers over an extended period of time. Firelands offers the following information to help you weather the storm.
Should I call Firelands?
In the immediate aftermath of a major storm, we ask that you call only to report safety hazards such as downed power lines or equipment that is sparking. During major storms, our telephone lines can become overloaded with customer calls. In these situations, we are usually aware of most damage to our distribution system. If you are still without power after several hours, please call in to let us know. Sometimes we are not aware of damage to lines serving only one or two members.
Can I get information on-line?
Yes. You can get information on-line if you have a laptop or other battery-powered Internet connected device. Visit our Outage Watch web page for the latest updates.
Outage Checklist and Safety Tips
Click here to view a complete listing of outage safety tips and how to prepare for an emergency.
What does Firelands do to manage a major storm?
Firelands continually monitors national and local weather reports so it is prepared for impending storms. This allows Firelands to work on staffing for restoration efforts even before the storm hits. During major storm efforts, our customer service representatives operate in "storm mode," utilizing extra telephone lines, bringing in additional representatives to better serve our customers.
Why can't an agent tell me when my power will be restored?
It is impossible to accurately predict restorations of specific circuits serving particular residences because of the many challenges that restoration workers face.
What is my best source of information on the restoration effort?
Firelands works hard keep the local news media informed on the overall progress of restoration efforts. Firelands issues informational releases to the news media regarding restoration progress at least twice a day during major power outages. For the latest outage information, keep you radio set to WVNO 106.1-FM, and visit Outage Watch on our website. Please be sure to have an emergency kit, including a battery-operated radio and fresh batteries, so you're ready in case of a major power outage.
How does Firelands decide which customers to restore first?
Firelands works to restore power using the most efficient schedule possible. Efforts are staged so that power will initially be restored to health care facilities, emergency response agencies, and other public utilities and public shelters.
Firelands' goal is to restore power to as many people as possible - as quickly as possible. Once substations are restored, large three phase lines are next, then large single-phase lines and individual lines after that. Members located in more isolated areas where scattered outages may still remain should turn on an outside light to help line crews easily locate the dark areas where problems still exist.
How does Firelands handle tree damage?
Firelands' tree crews and contractors conduct tree trimming throughout the year to keep power lines free of limbs and debris. Following a storm, Firelands tree crews do not remove fallen limbs or branches from your property. For tree removal, you will need to call a landscape or tree contractor. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or debris within 10 feet of a power line. Stay completely away from any downed power line or sparking equipment. If you notice downed lines or sparking equipment, please call our Outage Hotline (800) 533-8658 as soon as possible.
Why would Firelands trucks pass by my house without repairing anything?
This can happen because work needs to be done at a nearby location before service can be restored to individual homes.
Why can my home be the only house on the road without power?
Fuses or circuit breakers in your home could have tripped and halted power, tree limbs could have fallen on the line serving your home, fuses on the transformer that serves your home may have blown or could be damaged, or the primary line feeding the transformer could be damaged.Sometimes crews restore power to an entire line section and are not aware of an individual outage down the line.
Why would I lose electricity in only part of my house?
You could have tripped a circuit breaker, blown a fuse or have a broken connector or wire at one of the service leads to your house. Sometimes damage to these leads leaves only the 120-volt outlets (or some of them) working. In this case, larger appliances that need 240-volt service – such as water heaters, air conditioners and ovens – may be inoperable until repairs are made. It is safe to use the outlets you have available while you check with an electrician. However, if some of your lights are extremely bright or extremely dim, you should avoid using outlets connected to these circuits to avoid potential damage to equipment. If there is a problem with a service lead to your home, Firelands crews will repair the wires when they arrive to restore service.
Some customers use backup, or standby, generators to provide power during outages. Firelands needs to be aware of backup generators because of safety hazards they can pose to line workers – and to you. Please notify us if you are using a backup generator. The problem arises when power from the backup generators feeds back onto distribution lines, which can electrocute personnel working on the lines. On the other hand, power from Firelands lines can feed into the generator and cause a fire at your residence. To avoid these hazards, be sure to have your generator installed by an electrician and be sure that it has a double-throw transfer switch to isolate the device from the power grid.
Remember that appliances can be connected directly to the generator independent of the household wiring. Make sure that all manufacturers' instructions are followed and that only the recommended number of appliances are plugged into the generator.
Why do I sometimes experience brief outages that call for resetting of appliances?
Usually, these outages occur when a protective device, called a recloser, detects interference on the line. If interference is detected, the line will de-energize briefly to determine if the problem is prolonged or only temporary. If the problem is temporary, the line will re-energize quickly. If the problem is prolonged, the line will remain de-energized.