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When the Lights Go Out

What to do when the power goes out.
Most power outages last for just a few moments. In extreme cases such as severe weather, outages can last for more than a day. Because power failures do happen, it makes sense to be prepared for them. Print off a copy of this information and keep it with your emergency supplies.

Basic Emergency Kit

Keep a stock of emergency supplies where you can easily find them in the dark. Your basic emergency kit should include:
* a flashlight and fresh batteries
* candles, matches, and candleholders
* a transistor radio
* a non-electric clock
* food and water provisions

Portable stoves, lamps and other camping equipment can be useful. But they should be stored - along with their fuels - in a shed or garage that is separated from the house. Liquid fuels give off combustible vapours and should be kept outside the house at all times. Outdoor and charcoal barbecues should never be used indoors. They are a fire and safety hazard, and can give off deadly carbon monoxide.
During lengthy outages additional supplies may be required. Natural disasters such as the ice storm of 1998 could cause more lengthy outages due to a more significant impact on our infrastructure.

Life-Sustaining Equipment

As a general rule, you should be prepared to be self-reliant by having adequate backup power for a minimum of two hours in the event of a power outage. If power is out for longer than two hours, you are responsible for moving to a hospital or area that has power. Please contact us at (905) 895-2309 if you have this type of equipment. We will do our best to make you aware of any extended power outages.
Portable GeneratorsHome generators can be useful during a power outage, but they can also be very dangerous if they are not used properly. It is not permissible to connect a home portable generator directly to a house wiring system without the proper installation of a CSA-approved transfer switch acceptable to Newmarket Hydro, and with local electrical inspector approval. Serious accidents can result when a home generator is connected to an existing electrical system. If a flow of energy from a home generator follows the electrical lines back to the transformer and the energy is transformed to a higher voltage, the lives of utility employees working on the lines nearby are endangered.

To operate a generator safely:

* Follow the manufacturer's instructions
* Connect lights and appliances directly to the generator. If extension cords must be used, ensure they are properly rated, and CSA approved.

For more information on the correct way to connect your standby or portable generator, call your electrical contractor or the electrical inspector in your area.


When Power Goes Off

Determine whether the power failure is limited to your home.
* If your neighbour's power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. When operating a breaker, always face away from the panel.
* If your neighbour's power is off, call Newmarket Hydro.

Reporting Outages

* We urge customers to call us, as this helps determine the extent of the outage. But please do not keep calling. We will be on the job as quickly as possible - repeated calls may delay other customers from reporting new problems.
* To report an outage, call (905)895-2309.


If you see a downed power line, please call us with the exact location. Keep back a minimum of 10 metres (33 feet) from the wires or anything in contact with them and warn others of the danger. Always assume that the lines are energized.

Switch off all appliances and tools

* Appliance or tools left on will start up automatically upon restoration of service; turning them off will prevent injury or fire.
* If a power surge follows startup, it could damage sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, microwaves, and VCRs.
* Power can be restored more easily by reducing the load on the electric system.
If you leave your home during the outage make sure your range is turned off and all other heat-producing appliances, such as your iron, are unplugged. This will minimize the risk of fire when power is restored.

Other Tips When the Power Goes Off

* Leave one light switch on so you know when the power is restored.
* Only open your freezer or fridge when absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 48 hours if the door remains closed.
* Don't use barbecues, portable generators, or propane or kerosene heaters indoors. They are for outdoor use where there is proper ventilation.
* Use proper candle holders. Never leave them unattended.

When Power is Restored

* Check to make sure your refrigerator and freezer are back on. Check your freezer guide to determine whether food can be safely re-frozen.
* Give the electrical system a chance to stabilize. Turn on the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting the others.
* Remember to reset your clocks, automatic timers, and alarms.
* Restock your emergency cupboard so the supplies will be there when they are needed again.