Power Outage Safety

We work hard to make sure you always have power at the flick of a switch. But our weather can be unpredictable, with extreme cold, blizzards, or high winds making it impossible for us to guarantee uninterrupted service at all times. In extreme cases, power outages can last for more than a day but most only last a few minutes.

What to do when your power goes out

  • Find a flashlight.
  • Check the circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If required, replace fuses with the same size only, or reset breakers. Not sure what to do? Call an electrician.
  • If everything is okay in the circuit breaker panel or fuse box, check to see if the power is out in your neighbourhood.
  • Call our Power Outage and Emergencies line at 1-888-737-1296 (1-888-76-HYDRO).
  • Turn off all lights except one, to signal you when the power comes back on.
  • Turn off all appliances with sensitive electronics, such as computers, TVs, DVD players, microwaves, garage door openers, etc.
  • Don’t turn off your refrigerator or freezer! You might forget to turn them back on.
  • Visit Canada’s Get Prepared website for more information on what to do during a power outage.

Keep these emergency kit items handy

  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches and candles (place candles on stable furniture in sturdy holders, never leave candles unattended, and keep out of reach of children)
  • Firewood (if you have a fireplace)
  • First aid kit
  • Bottled water (2 L per person per day)
  • Any prescription medication you might need
  • Crank or battery-operated radio
  • Corded telephone or a fully charged cell phone
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • Games, cards, and books to keep everyone busy

In the case of downed wires. lightning strikes, or other electrical emergency, call our Power Outage and Emergencies line at 1-888-737-1296 (1-888-76-HYDRO). You may also need to inform the local authorities, RCMP, or RNC. Remember to stay away from downed wires; do not touch them or try to move them, and never attempt to move anything caught in downed power lines.

Be safe when using a portable generator 

A generator can be very useful during an extended power outage, but it can also be very dangerous. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and contact a qualified electrician or electrical inspector if you have questions.

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless gas emitted from engine exhaust. Because you can’t smell it, you can be exposed to CO without knowing it. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • Never use a portable generator indoors, including inside a garage or other enclosed or partially enclosed area.
  • Only operate portable generators outdoors, and at a location where the exhaust cannot enter into your home or other buildings through doors or windows.
  • If you have a headache or start to feel dizzy, nauseated, or tired while using a generator, immediately seek fresh air and medical attention.
  • Use a battery-operated CO and propane detector at home. This is also advisable for homes that have a natural gas fired forced air heating system.

How to prevent electric shock and electrocution

Serious accidents or fire can result when a home generator isn’t properly connected to the house wiring system. Generators that are not isolated can feed back into the electrical grid and possibly electrocute anyone who comes into contact with them.

  • It is not permissible to connect a home portable or stationary generator directly into a house wiring system without the proper installation of a CSA-approved transfer switch. An electrical permit is required for the installation, and the transfer switch and generator must be inspected and approved by the local electrical inspector. For more information on the correct way to connect your generator and to obtain a permit, please call your electrical contractor or the electrical inspector in your area.
  • Never plug a portable generator into a regular household electrical outlet. This can also feed back into the electrical grid and pose a serious electrical danger to neighbours and utility workers.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a properly sized CSA-approved three-pronged extension cord in good condition.
  • If using the portable generator to power electrical tools for outdoor use, use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) portable extension cord.
  • Keep the generator dry and protected from rain and snow.

How to prevent fire

Improper fuel handling and improperly installed, used, or overheated generators are fire hazards. Never store fuel in your home. Instead, store all fuel in a properly labelled and vented fuel storage container in a well-ventilated building or storage shed separate from the house. Do not store fuel near a generator or other fuel-burning or heat-producing appliances. Make sure to shut down the generator and allow it to cool before refueling. And whatever you do, do not overload the generator.

How to cook safely during a power outage

Portable stoves, lamps, and other camping equipment can be useful during a power outage. For your safety, they should be stored in a shed or garage separate 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 emit deadly carbon monoxide.

Top tips for staying safe when the lights go out

At Hydro, your safety is our utmost concern. If the power goes out, here are some tips to keep you and your family safe and your home protected.

Learn more

Power Line Safety

Learn more about how to stay safe around downed wires.

Learn more