Power failures and utility disruptions

During a power failure

  • Turn off all appliances, tools and electronic equipment and turn your home heating down to minimum.
  • Get out your emergency kit and flashlight. Be careful using candles—they can create a fire hazard.
  • Turn on a battery-powered or hand-crank radio to find out what is happening in your area.
  • Follow the directions of emergency authorities.
  • Report power failures to Guelph Hydro at 519-822-3010 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 519-822-3014 (after hours, weekends and holidays).
  • Don’t use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide.
  • Do not open your freezer or refrigerator unless necessary. If a freezer door has been kept closed, food should stay frozen for 24 to 36 hours, depending on the temperature. A refrigerator will keep food cool for four to six hours without power.
  • Throw out any food items with a strange smell or colour. If perishable food has been at room temperature for more than four hours, don’t eat it.
  • Do not eat any food you think may be unsafe. A good rule when dealing with food is: when in doubt, throw it out.
  • Most natural gas furnaces and water heaters need electricity to function. If the hydro is out, most gas appliances will not work.
  • Most gas fireplaces are designed to provide radiant heat during a power outage. They can function with or without an electric circulation fan.

If you must evacuate during a storm

  • Turn off the main breaker or switch of the circuit-breaker panel or power supply box.
  • Turn off the water main where it enters the house. Protect the valve, inlet pipe and meter or pump with blankets or insulation material.
  • Watch for downed power lines. Call your electric supply authority with the exact location of the downed line.
  • Keep back a minimum of 10 metres (33 feet) from wires or anything in contact with them and warn others of the danger.
  • Always assume that the lines are live. It is difficult to distinguish between power lines and other utility lines (for example, telephone or cable lines) and utility lines also carry sufficient power to cause harm. Treat all lines as a danger.