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POWER OUTAGES
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Who should I call?
In case of a power outage or electrical emergency, you may call us at 886-5090 for 24-hour coverage. During emergencies please be patient because all lines may be busy. For other inquiries, please call the billing and service number at 885-6840.
We'll be able to assist you faster if you can provide us with:

  • Your account number, which is on your bill
  • The phone number of the home or business you are calling about.

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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 hassle.

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What causes a power outage?
Power outages are usually weather-related. Major storms can disrupt service if lightning strikes electrical equipment or a tree limb falls on electric wires. The 1998 ice storm in eastern Ontario and Quebec was a powerful reminder of how vulnerable we are to the weather.
Accidents can also cause outages. If a car knocks out a single power source for example, we can be left without power for hours. Outages happen for many reasons and can last for any length of time. For that reason, Waterloo North Hydro cannot guarantee a continuous supply of power.

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How quickly does Waterloo North Hydro respond?
We treat every outage as an emergency and provide 24-hour service to restore electricity as quickly as possible. So no matter what the extent of the damage, emergency crews start working right away to restore power.

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How to prepare for an outage
Set aside a special place for emergency supplies. It should be easily accessible in the dark, and every member of the family should know about it. Here's a list of emergency supplies to keep handy:

  • The basics
  • Flashlights, batteries
  • Battery-operated transistor radio and clock
  • Cell phone
  • Candles and waterproof matches or lighter
  • Extra blankets, coats, hats and gloves
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • First aid kit
  • Non-perishable foods, such as canned and dried goods
  • Bottled water
  • Disposable tableware and cutlery
  • Manual can openers

Some other necessities

  • Bottled water
  • Prescription drugs, contact lens solution
  • Extra cash
  • Extra car keys
  • Sleeping bags
  • Toilet paper, other personal toiletries
  • A loud whistle (this may come in handy if you have to attract attention)

Consider special needs of family members

Is there a baby, child, grandparent or pet in your household? Take into account their needs and health issues and make a specific plan to help them should an outage occur. Will you need to find special medication or a way to warm a baby bottle?

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What to do if an outage occurs
First find out whether the outage is just in your home, or in your entire neighbourhood.

If it's in your home:

  • Turn off and disconnect any major appliances.
  • Check your fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • If fuses have blown or circuits have tripped off, you may have overloaded the circuit. Turn off your appliances or equipment and replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker.
  • If the fuse blows again, you’ll need to identify and eliminate the problem; call a professional electrician if you’re not sure what to do.

If the power is out in your neighbourhood:

  • In the winter, turn your thermostat down to minimum and switch off and unplug large appliances. This could prevent injury, fire and/or damage to sensitive electronic equipment should a sudden power surge occur when power is restored. It is also easier to restore power when the system is not overloaded.
  • Leave one light switch on so you know when power has been restored.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio nearby to get updates on the outage and restoration activities.
  • There's no need to empty your fridge and freezer right away; food will keep from 24 to 48 hours, as long you keep the door closed.

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When things are up and running again
Once the refrigerator and freezer are running, carefully check the food. (Helpful hint: if you plan to be away from home and want to make sure an unexpected power outage hasn't spoiled the food in your freezer, place a bag of ice cubes inside before you go away. If you see that the ice cubes have melted and refrozen, the same thing will have happened to your food. Don't take any chances - empty your freezer immediately.)
If the outage was less than four hours, give your electrical system a chance to stabilize. Turn on only the most essential appliances and wait 10 - 15 minutes before reconnecting others.
Remember to reset all your clocks, automatic timers and alarms.

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Safety first
If you use alternative heating or cooking devices, camping equipment or a standby generator for electricity, make sure you do it safely. Check to see if it has been approved for use indoors by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Alternative heating or cooking devices
NEVER use barbeques, portable generators, propane or kerosene heaters indoors. They are for outdoor use only.

Camping equipment
Portable stoves, lamps and other camping equipment can be useful. However, these items use liquid fuels, which give off combustible vapors. In order to avoid any risk to your health, make sure that equipment and fuels are stored in a garage or shed that is separate from the house.

Portable and standby generators
Electricity is available at the flick of a switch to power the conveniences we depend on at home and at work but when there’s no electricity due to severe weather conditions or other circumstances, there is an alternative – portable or standby generators.

When used properly, generators are a handy alternative energy source that can be used until conventional power is restored. If you’re thinking about buying a generator, it’s important to do a bit of homework up front – and stay safe.
Here’s some important advice from the Electrical Safety Authority, which regulates the safe use of electrical equipment in Ontario:

  • Standby generators are fuel-driven devices designed to produce electrical energy to power electrical equipment and appliances. They are not intended to meet all the electrical requirements of a home or business – do not connect them directly into your home wiring system without taking safety precautions.
  • Careful purchase decisions – as well as proper installation and diligent inspection – are essential to ensure the generator is safe for you, your family and your neighbours.
  • You’ll need to clearly understand your electricity requirements so you can ensure the unit is the correct size and voltage for your application.
  • Make sure you buy all the necessary generator appliances, including an approved transfer device or switch and a properly sized connection cord and plugs. Some manufacturers offer complete generator packages – a little research can save you money.
  • Hire a licensed and knowledgeable electrical contractor to install the unit.
    Be sure to have the installation inspected by an Inspector from the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • Ask about measures you should take to ensure proper grounding and bonding of the unit.
  • Read and follow the instructions in your owner's manual.
  • Ensure all components of the generator carry approval labels. Look for one of the following approval markings:

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Stay away from fallen wires
Ice storms, high winds or fallen tree limbs can bring down power lines. Even if a fallen wire seems dead, it can be dangerous. Please call us with the location of the fallen wires or report them to the local police as soon as possible.
If a power line falls across your vehicle, stay inside until an emergency crew removes the line. Stepping out of your vehicle onto the ground could be fatal if the fallen power line is live.
If you must get out because of fire, jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. After jumping, move away without your feet leaving the ground. Keep your feet together and shuffle at least 10m away from the wire.

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For added protection, use surge protectors
Surge protectors downgrade internal surges before they reach your sensitive electronic equipment. They are available in a variety of models and you can choose from units that accommodate a few plugs to units installed at the electrical panel to protect the entire house. They're intended to protect all kinds of sensitive electronic equipment from office machines to entertainment systems.

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How to handle an electrical emergency

Electrical fire
Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire. Unplug equipment if possible, and use baking soda or a chemical fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

Rescue
If someone inside a building receives a shock from a faulty appliance and is still in contact with it, don’t touch the appliance or the person before pulling the plug from the wall socket. If a person or vehicle touches an outdoor wire, don’t touch either the person or the vehicle. Call 911 for help.

First aid

  • Once the victim is free from the source of electricity, begin first aid.
  • If the victim is unconscious and breathing, place them gently on one side (in the St. John’s Ambulance position) and don’t give them anything to eat or drink.
  • If the victim is unconscious, and not breathing, use artificial respiration immediately. If there is no pulse, start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Don’t leave the victim unattended.
  • If the victim is conscious and in shock, keep them warm, but don’t apply heat. Loosen any clothing around their neck, chest and waist, and have them sit in a semi-reclined position.
  • Avoid handling burns. Do not apply lotions or remove burned clothing. If possible, cover burns (including clothing) with prepared dry sterile dressing. Where skin is blistering, bandage loosely. Don’t use gauze, cotton wool or other material that is likely to stick.

Medical follow-up
All victims of an electrical shock must have a medical examination to confirm that cardiac and pulmonary functions are normal and stable.

Electrical fires - have a plan

  • Never use water on fires involving electrical equipment or wires! Unplug equipment if possible and use baking soda or a dry chemical electrical fire extinguisher to douse the flames.
  • Have family escape routes planned for all areas of your home.
    Keep emergency numbers close to your telephone.
  • Be ready with rescue equipment such as rope and ladders for upper windows and know how to use them.
  • If a fire starts in your home, get your family out of the house fast.
  • Never open a door if it or the knob is hot to the touch.
  • Call the fire department from a neighbour's home.
  • Never re-enter the house for any reason until permission is given by firefighters on the scene.

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ADDRESS

Waterloo North Hydro Inc.
526 Country Squire Road
PO Box 640
Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 4A3
Phone: 519-886-5090

Employment Opportunities

CONTACT INFO

General Inquires:
Customersupport@wnhydro.com
Phone: 519-885-6840
Fax: 519-746-0133
Engineering Inquiries:
eclerk@wnhydro.com
Phone: 519-888-5552

ECRA/ESA LICENCE 7004206

HOURS OF OPERATION

Standard Business Hours:
8:30am - 4:30pm (Monday - Friday)

Emergency Hours:
24 hours a day, seven days a week

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