What to Do When the Power Goes Off
At the City of Cookeville, we know that a power outage can be very disruptive to your daily activities. By working together, we can make the restoration process go as quickly as possible. If your power is out, please follow these steps:
- Check your home’s breaker panel (and any outdoor disconnects) 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.
- Prior to calling, have an exact address ready and be prepared to give additional information, if possible, such as a loud noise occurred, a tree fell, etc.
- After all checking is done, call 931-526-7411 if it is during normal business hours of Monday through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. If it is not during business hours or it’s a holiday, please call the after-hours emergency number, 931-520-6211. We have a designated phone line at the Cookeville Police Department that takes these calls and dispatches our on-call crews. If it is a wide-spread power outage, we will help alleviate the stressful situation by calling in employees to man our phone system.
Be Prepared for Extended Outages
Make sure one of the phones in your home is not a cordless phone as these require electricity to charge, but also have a mobile phone for backup and charge it in your vehicle, if necessary
- 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.
- Unplug as many major appliances as possible. This will prevent overloading the power line circuits when power is restored.
- Keep a small lamp plugged in and turned on so you’ll know when power is restored. It is possible that the light bulbs may suffer damage, but bulbs are cheaper to replace than other electrical appliances.
Special Medical Needs
If you or a family member relies on an electrical life-sustaining medical device in your home, call us at 931-526-7411 to make sure we are aware of it. In some cases, severe storms can damage our electrical system so badly that it takes days to fix. If you depend on electricity, it’s important to have an emergency back-up plan in place. For more information on our Critical Customer Program, please call 931-526-7411.
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.