Contact: Marty Berkowitz (614) 387-2962,
Hurricane Sandy May Cause Ohio Electricity Outages;
OCC offers tips to stay safe and warm during an outage
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Oct. 29, 2012 – Hurricane Sandy has already caused widespread damage and loss of power to hundreds of thousands of consumers in the northeast and middle Atlantic states. Weather forecasters are predicting that Ohioans, particularly in eastern areas of the state, will feel the effects of the hurricane with high winds, heavy rains and possible snowfall expected as early as late tonight and throughout Tuesday.
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) advises utility consumers throughout the state to be prepared in case they lose power during the weather emergency.
If your power should go out, you should notify your utility through its online system. For some utilities, the online systems are the fastest ways to process outage information. If your only access to the internet has been affected due to the power outage, you can also call your utility at the numbers below. The following links can be accessed to report a power outage:
OCC offers the following recommendations for consumers, particularly if they are affected by outages during periods of cold temperatures:
Tips for staying warm:
- Do not use gas stoves, ovens, charcoal grills or outdoor heaters to heat the home. These devices can be a fire hazard or create the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning;
- Carefully follow instructions and safety precautions when using generators, which should be located outside the home to avoid the danger of poisonous exhaust fumes;
- Close off unneeded rooms;
- Use towels to keep heat from escaping through cracks around doors and windows; and
- Keep extra blankets and sleeping bags handy and dress in layers.
Tips for staying safe:
- Unplug electronics until service is restored to avoid a potential power surge;
- If you are running a generator, please disconnect it when repair crews are at work in your area, for their protection;
- Stay away from downed wires, which can be still connected to electricity, and report them and other damage to utility equipment immediately to the local electric company;
- Stay away from flooded basements, even if the power is off;
- Use a battery-powered lantern instead of candles, which may present a danger because of open flames. And, locate extra batteries for flashlights and portable radios; and
- Consumers who are on their utility's critical care list should review the options and responsibilities of the electric utility. Consumers who are not on the critical care list, but who need electricity for life support devices, should contact their utility to learn more about this option.
Food safety tips:
More information about what to do in a power emergency is available on OCC's website, http://www.pickocc.org/publications/electric/Why_Your_Power_May_Go_Out.pdf. http://www.pickocc.org/news/2012/pressrelease.php?date=06302012
About the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, represents the interests of 4.5 million households in proceedings before state and federal regulators and in the courts. The state agency also educates consumers about electric, natural gas, telephone and water issues. For more information, please visit the OCC website at www.pickocc.org