Consumer Watch: Dealing with extended power outages


by Andy Treinen

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 5:07 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With gusty winds and pelting rains, Superstorm Sandy has the potential to leave millions of Americans in the dark. You may have your flashlight and candles ready, but what happens if the power is out for days? 

Forecasters recognized the threat of Sandy early on, and while residents were stocking up on batteries and officials loading up sand bags, the power industry said they were getting ready, too.

“This time we've had several days warning. We're staging our crews. We're prepared but again, this is going to be a very, very severe storm. We're hopeful that we won't have extended outages, but we can't control mother nature,” said David Owens of Edison Electric Institute.

In the event of extended outages, the Edison Electric Institute recommends:
- Staying away from downed power lines, flooded areas and debris
- Keeping doors closed can keep food safe 48 hours in a fully-loaded freezer
- Portable stoves, heaters and kerosene lanterns should be in a well-ventilated area, as should generators 
- When it's safe to head back out, be on the lookout for utility crews working along the roadways

After the storm passes, keep in mind utility companies prioritize when it comes to restoring power. “We're going to have to bring energy back to essential facilities first, our power supply facilities, our transmission lines. We have to bring back our critical lodes, our hospitals, our police, our fire departments, our main arteries where people can shop, can get food and other essentials,” said Owens.

This is also a reminder to have an emergency plan that everyone in the family knows and practices. It starts with communication.

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