Owensboro Municipal Utilities strives to provide reliable and quality electric service to our customers. However, power outages can occur for a number of reasons including harsh weather. Understanding what to do in the event you experience an outage can save you time and provide useful information.
Who To Call
If a power outage occurs, you should first check your breaker boxes to ensure it is not an internal issue. Then look outside to determine if neighboring properties and streetlights are without power.
Please contact us report any downed lines, noises or other information related to the outage. We appreciate your help in reporting an outage at your home or business; do not assume your neighbors have notified OMU; please phone OMU also.
During large-scale outages, OMU may use its call management system which allows you to enter your phone number to record the outage and to be notified when there is a change in your status. We encourage callers to be patient during times of high call volume and to keep calling until they reach an operator or our call management system.
Anatomy Of Outage Recovery
Our first step in any outage, large or small, is to assess the system. This is done in several steps.
Our Control Room Team uses an advanced electronic SCADA monitoring system and customer calls to identify affected areas. This information may also help assess the cause of the problem.
Personnel are dispatched to affected areas in order to survey the lines and isolate the damage. Then the Control Room dispatches the proper line repair personnel to these areas.
If more than one area is affected, the circuits are prioritized by using the following criteria: restoring power to critical infrastructure facilities such as hospitals and government facilities, with the next priority being the most customers in the shortest period of time. Generally this means beginning with substations and large transmission lines which feed large areas and then working through the primary lines or feeders (or higher voltage lines that deliver power to a particular area) and eventually to secondary lines (lower voltage lines and services lines to individual homes).
Our foremost concern is public safety. The following precautions should be taken during an outage:
- Assume any downed wire is “hot” or electrified and contact us as soon as possible. Keep everyone, including animals, away from downed lines.
- Do NOT attempt to move any downed line or untangle it from trees or limbs.
Prolonged outages, generally due to extensive storm damage, may require additional considerations.
You may need to have an alternate means for food storage. Refrigerated items, if left in a closed refrigerator, are safe for up to 24 hours. Frozen items will last longer if they remain frozen.
You may wish to find shelter with family and friends, or with local agencies such as the Red Cross, that establish emergency shelters during prolonged outages.
Persons with life-sustaining equipment that relies on electricity should always have a plan for such instances including back-up batteries and/or generators or alternative location.
Customers who use generators to provide electricity during prolonged outages should be sure the generator is isolated from the OMU system during its use. Generators that are not isolated from the OMU system present danger to the general public and utility workers. We urge customers to contact the OMU engineering department to obtain information on how to install generators in a safe manner. In addition, we encourage residents and businesses to notify OMU when their generator is in use.
View the OMU Generator Interconnection Policy.
Unplug appliances and other valuable electronic equipment to avoid damage from a possible surge when the power is restored: electric ranges, washers, dryers, computers, televisions and microwave ovens.
The following simple steps can help you prepare for any event, including a power outage:
- Keep a flashlight charged and have spare batteries nearby.
- Have one phone in your home that is not reliant on electricity.
- Have a car charger available for your cell phone.
- Keep candles and matches easily accessible, but away from children.
- Keep a wind-up or battery-operated alarm clock on hand.
- Keep other necessities on hand such as a manual can-opener.
- Know how to open your garage door manually.
- Be able to locate your electric box.
- Unplug sensitive electronic equipment that may be affected when power is restored.
- Prepare as if you will be without power for up to 72 hours in the event of a severe weather event.