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What to do when your power is out


CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) As always, STAY CALM. Whether it's a planned power shutoff or an unforeseen outage, depending on your power company, you can find out what it is.

But if you are in a situation where you have no power and don't know what to do, here are a few tips Pacific Gas and Electric Company recommended you should do.

Before your power goes out, plan to have these items ready in case of an emergency:

  • Keep a battery-operated flashlight and radio within easy reach. Ensure those items are always accessible and that your batteries are fresh. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
  • Use safer LED candles. Wax candles are not recommended.
  • Plan for another way to communicate. Don’t depend on a phone that requires electricity to communicate. Keep a standard handset or mobile phone ready as a backup.
  • Store water-filled plastic containers in your freezer. You can use them as blocks of ice to prevent food from spoiling.

What to do during the outage:

  • Avoid areas with fallen trees. This is a typical place for power lines may fall, so remember to call 9-1-1 first to report downed lines.
  • Unplug or turn off all appliances during an outage. This action can help avoid overloading circuits when the power is restored.
  • Leave a single lamp on to alert you when the power returns. When the power is restored, you can begin to turn your appliances on, one at a time.
  • Helpful, but not essential: get a power generator. However, most importantly, hire a licensed electrician to install your generator. Improperly installed generators can be dangerous for you, your family and PG&E crews.

How to report power outages to PG&E:

  • Find out whether your neighbors are affected by the outage. Sometimes, the power is out only on your property.
  • Check your circuit breakers and fuse boxes. This action can help you identify whether the problem is limited to your home. The power may be fixable with a few resets.
  • Report outages in your home or neighborhood to PG&E. Call our 24-hour Power Outage Information Center at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Learn the status of your outage. We can also provide an estimated timeframe for restoring your power. Call our 24-hour Power Outage Information Center at 1-800-743-5002.

View and report outages through an interactive map

Information courtesy of PG&E

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Director for and



  1. A lot of people don’t realize that many ISP’s have back up generators and so your internet is probably working but your modem and wifi box simply needs power. The next time the power goes out, I am going to run an extension cord from my inverter output over to the modem and wifi box, one smart TV and I might be able to continue surfing, watching TV and communicating with loved ones. But for my refrigerator to work, I have to haul my huge 5 KW inverter over to my car and use the engine as a portable generator and keep the food safe. Bring on the power outages, I need to do more testing on my system.

  2. I don’t blame the author of this article but some of the advice just makes no sense from a technical point of view. I am not going to list the many problems I found because despite it’s technical inaccuracies, you are still better off following the advice of the article than follow nothing at all.

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