Central Lincoln’s Operations Manager Randy Grove doesn’t hesitate when he’s asked what he’d like our customers to do before expected storms: “Please prepare for outages,” he says. “While we work year ’round to strengthen our system, to clear away branches and trees from lines, and to replace aging poles, I still want folks to be prepared for the possibility of losing power.”
Randy’s been with us 31 years, and he can remember when we tackled outages by grouping slips of paper with addresses written on them, and dispatching crews based on the highest stacks of paper. His other favorite storm tips?
- Have our outage number (1-866-484-3783) handy to let us know if your power goes out. If you don’t have a Central Lincoln magnet with our outage number on it, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or stop by your nearest Central Lincoln office, and we’ll get you one.
- Charge up your phone while the power’s still on – and as a backup, have a way to charge phones like a portable cell phone battery or a car charger, so if you’re without power you can communicate with us.
- Keep fresh batteries, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, candles, extra water, and extra food just in case.
- Keep your car fueled up with half a tank or more.
- If you have a generator, be sure it’s working well before storms hit. If that generator is wired into your electrical system, please make sure the wiring has been done properly to prevent backfeeding, which could harm line workers working to restore your power.
- Check for Central Lincoln outage info at twitter.com/CLPUD (you don’t need to be a Twitter user to look at our Twitter site). “If you can contact us when your power’s out, please do,” Randy continues. “Even though our system is much more automated these days, we need the ‘back up’ of customers calling to tell us about outages. If your lights go bright then dim, and then get really bright again, shut your main breaker off, and call us. That could mean a ‘failed neutral’ which can be dangerous.”
And then there’s one of Randy’s greatest worries about storm risks. “If you have to go out in a storm, stay 100 feet away from downed lines. Assume they are energized and call 9-1-1 to report them, please.”
And then there’s one of Randy’s greatest safety concerns: “Especially if you see lines lying on a metal guardrail, stay away. Our lines follow the edge of many roads. When people are trying to get out of the way of road hazards, what do people do? They go behind the guardrail, which normally is the right thing to do. But that may not be safe in a storm. If hot lines hit it, a guardrail could be energized until a fuse blows. It could be just be for an instant, but if you’re close, it could be very dangerous.”
And lastly, “If you’re in a car and lines come down on it, stay in the car! The only exception is if the car’s on fire. If that happens, leap as far away from the car as you can, and land on both feet. Then hop away like a bunny to help prevent electric shock.”
Sounds like staying home and indoors during storms is the best option, right? We agree!