While all utility providers do their very best to maintain their services, from time to time there are events that interrupt that service.
When you experience a power outage, consider the following:
- Check with your neighbours to see if they have electricity
- If you experience a neighbourhood power outage, unplug all appliances and computer equipment to avoid damage from a power surge when the power is restored, and shut off all lights except one to signal the return of power
- If your service has been interrupted, contact Manitoba Hydro
- Report downed power lines to Manitoba Hydro; stay away from all downed power lines as they may be live and can electrocute people or pets that come in contact with them - if a power line is touching water, sparking, or on fire, avoid the area and call 911
- Turn on your battery-powered radio and tune it to a local radio station Keep your phone charged if possible and follow City of Winnipeg social media channels
- If your home is the only one in the neighbourhood without power, the problem could be in your residence; know the location and type of service in your home (fuse box or circuit breaker panel) and know how it works - if you do not know how to change a fuse or re-set the breaker, contact Manitoba Hydro or a professional electrician
- Most natural gas furnaces need power to operate, but do not have to be turned off, and will usually operate when power is restored, while most natural gas fireplace burners will operate without electricity - consult the manufacturer of your equipment for information about your furnace and fireplace
- While most freezers can keep food cold for 12 to 24 hours without power, remember to keep the fridge and freezer doors shut as much as possible to preserve the cold temperatures.
- Use emergency light sources from your 72-hour emergency kit, such as glow sticks and battery-powered flashlights
- Never leave candles burning unattended or while you sleep; instead, use a car charger to keep your cell phone charged
When your power is restored
- Wait a few minutes for the power to stabilize before plugging in appliances again and check your electrical appliances one-by-one
- Turn on circuit breakers
- Be sure the water heater is full of water before turning it on
- Turn off portable heaters
- Check your home for damage
Natural gas outage
The safety controls on natural gas equipment are designed to close and shut equipment off if gas flow is interrupted. For information on your equipment contact the manufacturer. If you smell natural gas (rotten egg odor), get out of the building immediately, stay out, and call 911.
- Contact Manitoba Hydro
- Turn the thermostat down so it is not calling for heat.
- Have a carbon monoxide alarm with a battery backup on all levels of your home and test them regularly.
Stay warm in your home without power or gas
- Keep windows and doors closed to conserve heat and wear warm clothing
- Use an emergency heating source to warm one room before the building gets too cold; if the power is still on, use an electric heater to maintain heat - consult Manitoba Hydro for a list of safe emergency heat sources
- If you choose to use a home generator for backup electricity, operate it safely and follow the manufacturer's instructions
- Use your generator outdoors only, in well-ventilated conditions, away from doors, windows, and air intakes
- Connect your lights and appliances directly to the generator and avoid the use of extension cords
- Never use a fuel-powered generator indoors or in a garage or other confined outdoor space, as carbon monoxide can build up, which can cause serious injury or death
- For more information, refer to Manitoba Hydro
- Check water pipes to ensure they do not freeze
When natural gas is restored
- You may have to re-light the pilot light(s). If you don't know how, contact Manitoba Hydro. Authorities may instruct you to wait for professional assistance.
- Be sure your water heater is full of water before turning it on.
- Turn up the furnace thermostat.
- Turn off portable heaters.
If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, get out, stay out and call 911.
If you must evacuate your home during a power or natural gas outage, ensure you take the appropriate precautions
- Turn off your home's main electric switch.
- Turn off your home's water heater switch.
- If you have a hot water or steam boiler system, turn off the power and/or natural gas supply and drain the boiler and system according to the manufacturer's instructions. For specific information contact the manufacturer.
If you suspect your home will freeze up due to lack of power, take the following steps
- Drain water pipes to prevent water in pipes from freezing and splitting the pipes:
- Shut off the tap at water meter and then turn on your taps to get the water out of your pipes.
- Turn on a tap in your basement, drain water into pails and save for use.
- Drain your hot water tank and furnace humidifier.
- Flush your toilet(s) to empty as much water as possible. Add recreation vehicle antifreeze to toilet tanks and bowls to reduce chance of freezing.
- Drain water from washing machine and dishwasher.
- Drain your hot tub.
- Add recreation vehicle antifreeze to all sink, bathtub, shower and floor drains.
- When notified, City works crews may shut off the water at the street and they may also require access to your house to drain the water meter.
- Protect the valve, inlet pipe and water meter or pump with blankets or insulating material.
- If you are able to keep the temperature above freezing in the area of the water meter or water tank there may be no need to drain this equipment; however, the City may have to shut the water off for other reasons.