Power Outage Information & FAQs

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Waterloo North Hydro provides reliable electrical service to all homes and businesses within our service territory. From time to time, outages can occur. Most power outages are unintended, brief and the result of extreme weather. In some cases, outages are planned in order for Waterloo North Hydro to perform maintenance and service.

If your power has gone out or you're having trouble with your electricity, please contact us at 519-886-5090. If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

Remember to always stay clear of downed powerlines or equipment and never assume they are safe to approach.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that we hope you find helpful:

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if the power goes out?

First, make sure that your whole house is out of power. You may have a blown a fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. Be sure to check your service panel. Check to see if nearby streetlights or neighbors are out of power.

If your power is out, call us at 519-886-5090. During an outage lines will be busy. Please be patient.

How quickly does Waterloo North Hydro respond?

Every outage is treated like an emergency. No matter what the extent of the damage, our crews start working right away to get power back on.

What causes a power outage?

Bad weather often causes power outages. When lightning strikes or a tree branch falls on electric lines, the power goes out. Sometimes a car accident knocks out a power source leaving us without power for a long time. We can never guarantee power supply because many reasons can cause outages.

Sometimes power goes out for just a second or two. Why?

Usually an Auto-Reclosure (A/R) event causes this kind of outage. An A/R is a safety protection feature built in to protect equipment and even people. When a fault current is sensed, the station breaker will open (power goes off) for a split second to clear the fault. The station breaker automatically tries to close back in (power goes on) and if the fault has cleared, power will stay on. Lightning or tree contacts on a windy day can cause fault currents. Sadly most often, animal contacts such as squirrels or racoons cause A/Rs. A safe and reliable electricity supply is always our priority. Even a split second outage is frustrating. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Why should I stay away from downed powerlines?

You must never touch or go near a fallen wire, even if it is on the ground. Fallen wires may still be live and could cause serious injury or even death. If you see a fallen line, stay at least 10 metres away and secure the area. Please notify us by calling 519-886-5090 or report downed wires to the police as soon as possible.

What should I do if I see a downed powerline?

Ice storms, high winds or tree limbs can bring down power lines. Never assume that a wire is dead. Please call us at 1-519-886-5090 to tell us about the wires or report them to the police as soon as possible. If a power line falls on your car while you are in the car, stay inside until an emergency crew removes the line. If you have to get out, jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. After jumping, keep your feet together and shuffle away until you are at least 10m away from the wire.

What should I do if a powerline falls on my car?

If a power line falls on your car while you are in the car, stay inside until an emergency crew removes the line. If you have to get out, jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. After jumping, keep your feet together and shuffle away until you are at least 10 metres away from the wire. Please notify us by calling 519-886-5090 or report the downed line to the police as soon as possible.

Can I use camping equipment during an outage?

Never use barbeques, propane or kerosene heaters indoors. They are for outdoor use only. Portable stoves, lamps and other camping equipment can be useful. To avoid any risk of fire or to your health, make sure that fuels and equipment are stored in a garage or shed that is separate from the house.

What should I know about portable and standby generators?

We are all very dependent on electricity. In some circumstances, it makes sense to consider a portable or standby generator. Before buying a generator it's important to do some homework in order to do it right and stay safe. Here is some important advice from the Electrical Safety Authority:

  • Standby generators are not intended to meet all of the electrical needs of a home or business. Do not connect them directly into your home wiring system without taking safety precautions.
  • Proper installation and regular inspection are necessary to make sure the generator is safe for you and your neighbours.
  • Do your homework before you buy one. It's important to understand your electricity needs so that you buy the right sized unit with the right voltage.
  • Make sure that you buy all that you need including an approved transfer device or switch.
  • Hire a licensed electrical contractor to install the unit. Be sure the installation is inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • Follow the instructions in the owner's manual.

How can I prepare for an outage?

  • Develop an emergency plan and share it with your family. Be sure everyone knows what to expect and what to do. Have a plan in case power is out for a longer period.
  • Make a list of local emergency contact numbers (fire, police, ambulance, etc.). Include Waterloo North Hydro 1-519-886-5090.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and store it in an easy-to find location. Check it regularly to make sure it is well stocked and that all equipment is in good working order.
  • Use surge protectors to protect sensitive electrical equipment such as computers, DVD players, and televisions.
  • Include a battery-operated flashlight in your emergency kit to avoid using candles, as they can be fire hazards.

What should be in an emergency kit?

Prepare for the first 72 hours. Stock your emergency kit with these essentials:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Battery operated radio and clock
  • Cell phone
  • Candles and waterproof matches or a lighter
  • Blankets, coats, hats and gloves
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • First aid kit
  • Non-perishable food such as canned and dried goods
  • Bottled water
  • Manual can opener
  • Prescription drugs, contact lens solution
  • Extra cash
  • Spare car keys
  • Sleeping bags
  • Toilet paper, other personal toiletries
  • A loud whistle in case you need to attract attention

What can I do during a power outage?

First, find out if the outage is just in your home, or in the whole neighbourhood.

If it's just your home:

  • Turn off or disconnect all major appliances.
  • Check the circuit breakers or fuse box.
  • If the breakers have tripped off or fuses have blown, you may have overloaded the circuit. Reset the breaker or replace the fuse.
  • If it trips off again, you will need to find the problem. If you are not sure what to do, call a qualified electrician for help.

If the power is out in the neighbourhood:

  • Switch off and unplug larger appliances. This could prevent injury, fire or damage should a sudden power surge happen when power comes back on.
  • Leave one light switch on so you know when the power comes back on.
  • Keep a battery powered radio handy to get updates on what is happening.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Most food will keep from 24 to 48 hours.
  • Never touch downed wires or low hanging wires. Telephone or cable television wires that touch a power line can be deadly. Stay at least 10 meters away from downed power lines and in an emergency call 911.
  • Never try to make your own electrical repairs to Waterloo North Hydro equipment. Let our dedicated and highly trained crews do the work.
  • Never pull tree limbs off power lines.
  • Never walk into areas where crews are at work. If you are driving near work crews, obey road signs and proceed cautiously.
  • Never use water on electrical equipment or wires. Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
  • Never issue a portable generator indoors, including inside a garage or other enclosed or partially closed area as it could cause Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Can I use my barbeque inside during an outage?

Never use barbeques, propane or kerosene heaters indoors. Portable stoves, lamps and other camping equipment can be useful during an outage. However, to avoid any risk of fire or to your health, make sure fuels and equipment are stored in a garage or shed separate from your home.

What should I do after a power outage?

Carefully check the food in your refrigerator and freezer. If the outage was for a longer time (24 - 48 hours), don't take any chances with spoiled food. Here is a helpful hint for when you plan to be away from home for few days. Place a bag of ice cubes in your freezer before you go away. If the ice cubes have melted and refrozen, the same thing has happened to your food. The freezer contents will be spoiled. Also, remember to reset your clocks, timers and alarms.