At The United Illuminating Company, we work hard to keep the power on in weather fair and foul.
But wind, rain, ice and snow — especially when they arrive in combination — can damage our electric system and leave customers without service. After particularly severe weather, some homes and businesses may be without power for days as our crews work day and night to restore service.
That’s why we remind customers that the possibility of an extended outage exists whenever severe weather is in the forecast. Here are some things you can do to prepare.
Perform a Storm Inventory
Take an inventory of your home and stock up on supplies.
- Make sure you have flashlights, candles, matches, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio or TV, a manual can-opener and a battery-operated clock. Stock up on fresh batteries, too.
- Fill containers with drinking water and keep a supply of canned or dried food, as well as any medications you need. Be sure to check expiration dates.
- Charge your mobile phone so you can report outages or emergencies. Store key contacts in your phone’s memory, and keep a paper copy for backup.
If someone in your home uses electronic life-support or medical-monitoring equipment, develop a back-up plan in case an extended power outage occurs. UI has a program to register “life-support” customers. Call us at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to learn more.
Any home generator that plugs into your home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when it’s in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generators, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. If adding a natural gas-fired generator, consult your gas utility to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
If The Lights Go Out
- If you still have Internet access on a laptop or mobile phone, you can visit uinet.com and see outages throughout our service territory on our Outage Map and Town Outage List. You can also learn about our process for restoring power on the Restoration Priorities page.
- Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs and stereos. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Some foods may last up to 24 hours if the doors are kept shut. More on food safety.
- Always stay away from downed wires and other electrical service. Always assume they are live and dangerous.
- Never use your natural gas stove or oven as a space heater to stay warm.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector to make sure the batteries are in proper working order.
- If you are a natural gas customer, clear any outdoor gas equipment (meter, regulator, piping, etc.) clear of any accumulation of snow and ice. Use a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging the equipment. Also, when conditions are safe, check your roof and gutters to make sure there is no snow or ice buildup that can fall on your gas meter or piping, or block vents.
- Take note of any overhead lines before cleaning gutters or performing other outdoor work at home.
- When carrying ladders and long-handled tools, check your path to make sure you won’t cross overhead lines.
- Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, including lines from the pole to your home.
- Assume that all overhead lines are energized, even if you’ve lost power, unless your utility informs you otherwise.
- Use only non-conductive ladders when working near any overhead power lines.
- Natural gas customers should keep sidewall vents clear of debris, leaves and vegetation.
Call UI at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to report outages or service emergencies using our automated reporting system, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Promptly reporting outages using this system will speed restoration efforts. Always assume downed power lines are live and dangerous, and be mindful of natural gas odors. If you see a downed power line, need to report an electrical power outage, or smell natural gas, please call your utility toll-free with the location and any specifics. Keep these numbers handy and programmed into your mobile phone.
- The United Illuminating Company: 800-7-CALL-UI (800-722-5584)
- Southern Connecticut Gas Company: 1-800-513-8898
- Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation: at 1-866-924-5325
- Berkshire Gas Company: 1-800-292-5012
Other information sources: