Winter has arrived, finally. And whether you love it or hate it, no one likes being without power. We’ve done a lot of work over the last few years to add technology and clear thousands of miles of trees to reduce the number and length of outages, but outages are still likely when heavy snow and high winds are involved. Read on to make sure you’re prepared for whatever Old Man Winter may bring. 

Stock your Emergency Kit

Make sure you’re ready for the unexpected with an emergency kit stocked with the following

  • Flashlight
  • Cell Phone Charger and extra charge bank
  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • Water (one gallon per person, per day)
  • Fill your tub to have water for flushing toilets (yes, this works!)
  • First-Aid kit
  • Daily medications
  • Non-perishable food (that doesn’t require electricity to prepare)
  • Manual can opener
  • Cash
  • Gasoline for your vehicle and generator if you have one

Safety Tips for When the Storm Hits

Keep these tips in mind to stay safe when the storm hits:

  1. Downed Wires – Stay at least 25 feet away from a downed wire and anything it is touching. Be especially cautious when clearing snow – water can be a conductor and expand the reach of electricity. Call 9-1-1 first, and then us at 800-477-5050 to report a downed wire.
  2. Generator Safety – Have your generator properly installed by a licensed electrician and located in a well-ventilated area. Never operate a generator in your home, basement, garage or other enclosed area.
  3. Stay Connected – Purchase a portable charger, vehicle charger or power bank to make sure it is charged before the storm hits.
  4. Buddy Up – Make sure to check on your neighbors – especially those who are elderly or have special medical needs.
  5. Blow Out the Candles – Candles can be a major fire hazard. Use flashlights instead.
  6. Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – In addition to moving your generator outdoors and away from your home doors and intakes, don’t run your vehicles in a garage or use your gas stove for heat. If you have a fireplace, ensure the flue is open and only use if it’s been cleaned and serviced this year.
  7. Warming Centers – We will work with the Red Cross and local communities to set up warming centers, if needed. You can find your nearest warming center by calling 2-1-1.

Keeping your house and yourself warm when the power is out

Consider leaving your house for periods of time during a power outage to warm up at a public place like a shopping mall or a library. If leaving home isn’t an option, or if public locations are closed due to the holidays, keep your home warm with these four simple tips:

  1. Curtain Call – Shut the curtains at night but open them during the day to let the sunlight in.
  2. Stop the Drafts – Use draft stoppers (or rolled up towels) to block drafts coming in under doorways and along windows. Shut the Front Door – And all other doors too. Close doors to unused rooms to keep the heat contained.
  3. Camp In – Use a tent to create an enclosed area to trap body heat for overnight outages.
  4. Layer Up – Pull out the blankets, don your fuzziest socks, hats and gloves and wear multiple layers (Joey Tribbiani, anyone?)
  5. Call 2-1-1 to find available local warming centers.
  6. Limit Time Outside for Humans and Pets – If we get the amount of snow predicted, it sure will be tempting to get out there and play. However, with power out it may be harder to dry off and warm up.

Other important information

Due to the number of questions we are receiving during this storm, we are unable to respond to customers via our social channels. Visit our outage center for the most up-to-date information. You can also call us at 800-477-5050. We aim to be as accurate as possible with restoration time targets, but large storms often create a lot of factors that are hard to estimate – especially at first. Sometimes we realize the damage is worse than initially thought when crews arrive on scene or outages are so widespread it can take us longer to move between sites. We appreciate your patience and understanding if your estimated time of restoration changes midway through our efforts.

Check out these related blogs:

Programs and other Assistance Resources Available for Energy Bills

6 Budget-Friendly Tips for Winterizing your Home

Ways to Save without Sacrificing Comfort this Winter

Hey, Consumers Energy! Why is my power always restored last?