top of page

Tips for coping with power outages

Well, 2024 sure blew in with windy weather and unusually low temps! And we’re not out of the cold woods yet!  While January is historically the coldest month in the state, February is right behind it. It’s also the time of year when power outages are much more common. In addition to inclement weather directly causing a power outage, that same wind, snow and ice also increase car accidents that disrupt power.


Many of us have recent experience to remind us that power outages have the potential to affect our lives more seriously when the weather is colder, wetter and darker, and the roads less safe to drive. So, if you haven’t done so since that last weather event, get prepared now!


What you can do now to prepare

  • Buy quality surge protectors for your expensive and sensitive equipment such as computers and TVs. Make sure to plug those devices into the surge protectors!

  • Make sure you have emergency items such as flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, batteries, tarps, a bucket, matches and drinking water in a designated place that is easy to find in the dark.

  • Make sure your home has battery-operated carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.   

When the winds start howling again

  • If your water pump is powered by electricity – as many are in the county – an outage quickly limits your water use. So, when the winds start howling, store as much as possible in closed or covered containers. You may also want to fill a bathtub with water to be used to flush toilets if needed. Tip: You can always fill your bucket with water from your roof’s downspout if you run out of water to flush toilets.

  • Another good idea is to turn off and unplug any sensitive equipment such as TVs and computers. (The surge protectors should take care of them; however, it is better to be safe than sorry.)

  • Get out your emergency supplies and some food and water before the power goes out. It’s a lot easier to simply put it away again if you don’t end up needing it than to risk injury trying to find it in the dark.

  • Use a surge protector and fully charge your cell phones as well as a back-up battery. 

When the power goes out

  • If your power is out, check to see if other houses in your neighborhood are dark too. If it’s just your house, first check your service panel or breaker box for tripped breakers or blown fuses before calling the PUD.

  • If the power is out in your area, call the Grays Harbor PUD Outage Reporting Hotline at (360) 537-3721 or 1-888-541-5923.

  • Leave a front outdoor light switched on as well as a light inside your home, so both you and the PUD crews can quickly ascertain when your electricity has been restored.

  • If you’re able, turn down your thermostat and turn off your water heater circuit breaker. By doing so, you will help reduce the demand for electricity when power is restored. If the demand is too great all at once, the power system will overload and cause the power to go off again!

  • If you haven’t already done so, turn off and unplug all sensitive electrical equipment such as computers, television sets, stereos and microwaves. It’s possible there will be a change in voltage for a moment when the power comes back on and that surge could harm your equipment. Major appliances that are too large for a surge suppressor (typically microwaves, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and ranges) should be unplugged or powered off at the breaker panel.

  • Make sure to keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible so the cold air stays inside. Food will stay frozen in a full freezer for about two days and about one day in a half full freezer – depending on what kind of food you have inside – meat will stay frozen longer than bread, for instance.

  • Remember – never burn charcoal briquettes or operate barbecues

  • Never operate a generator indoors, or in a place where the exhaust fumes could seep inside.

  • If you must use candles, be extremely careful. Keep them on sturdy surfaces and never leave a candle burning unattended. (Put battery-operated candles on your shopping list for next time.)

  • Remember – when you see PUD crews working, keep your distance for safety’s sake.


Once power is restored

  • Once the power to your house is back on, wait at least 20 minutes before turning key equipment on – such as a computer or TV. There can be a fluctuation in voltage when electricity is restored that could hurt your electronics.

  • Make a list of the things – from extra batteries to drinkable water and nutritious foods – that you wished you had when the power was out. Then either find them in your house or buy them and place in an area that you will remember.


Featured Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page