P.O. Box 500
1492 Wind River Hwy
Carson, Washington 98610
Manager’s Message – December 2015/January 2016
Winter wind, ice, snow – the Gorgeous weather is coming and power outages go hand in hand with the winter storms. November 17 marked our first this season. Reliability is a major factor in the value of your electric service. Yet as electric system reliability improves, awareness of our dependence on electricity declines. Being unaware of and unprepared for the possibilities when the lights go out can lead to difficult and even dangerous situations.
What to expect when the power goes out: First, a night-time power outage means instant darkness. Your electric appliances obviously will not function. In most cases that is no problem for a few hours. But if you have a central air heating system (or other HVAC system requiring electricity) you will be without heat. Even if your furnace burns natural gas or propane it requires electricity to operate the control circuitry and fans. If your water source depends on a pump to pressurize the system, you will be without running water. Your electric powered medical appliance will not function unless it has a battery backup. Though your laptop computer will run on battery power for a while, your internet modem will be down. Fortunately during most power outages cellular data is available as long as your mobile device battery lasts. When you jump in the car to escape to your friend’s house where the power is on, your garage door opener is not going to work. This is only a partial list. We encourage you to take your own inventory of how you’ll be affected when the power is out.
So what should you do? Like any good Boy Scout “Be Prepared.” The longest power outages usually happen in the worst weather. Prudent outage preparation would keep you warm and safe for up to 72 hours. Most outages will be just a few hours but in unusual circumstances they can last for days. First, keep a flashlight with fresh batteries in a handy place. Have an alternative (non-electric) source of heat available with fuel to heat at least one room in your house. If you depend on a medical appliance, have a backup plan. Store drinking water and non-perishable food to last a few days; have a backup means to heat food and water. Know how to disconnect your automatic garage door and driveway gate opener so you can leave in your car if you need to. Keep your vehicle gas tank more than half full. Again this list is not complete. More information is available from many government and private agencies. For example www.redcross.org has a very helpful Power Outage Safety page.
Important first step: When the power first goes out, take a moment and call the PUD. Keep our phone number handy. Unless you call us, we won’t know your power is out. Our staff will ask for your address and some simple questions to help us characterize the nature of the outage. After normal business hours, your call will be forwarded to our call center. If you have internet access, the PUD website www.skamaniapud.com will be updated with general outage information for outages affecting many customers.
What about a backup generator? Both portable and permanently installed generators can be safe and reliable sources of backup electrical power. To ensure PUD crew safety and to prevent damage to your generator, your building electric system must be isolated from the PUD distribution system when a backup generator is running. This is done by either opening your “MAIN” circuit breaker or by an automatic transfer switch (ATS) on a permanently installed generator. Consult with an electrical professional to ensure your generator is the correct size to meet your needs and correctly connected to your electric system to ensure personnel and equipment safety.