What You Should Do If The Lights Go Out
Power outages occur for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes they are caused by the weather--lighting strikes on or near the utility lines or high winds cause trees and limbs to fall on the lines. At other times, the cause is man-made--contractors or homeowners sever underground cables or motorists strike utility poles. Whatever the cause, outages are at best inconvenient, and the City does everything it can to prevent them.
Among the preventative measures we employ are: tree trimming to keep limbs from interfering with our lines; location and marking of underground utility lines for contractors/homeowners before they dig; and taking steps to deter and prevent outages caused by squirrels and other animals.
In spite of our best efforts, however, outages will still occur occasionally. When they do, you need to know the proper steps to take to have your power restored.
Step 1: Check your circuit breaker/fuses Before calling to report an outage,make sure the problem isn't in your home. Go to the other rooms in the house to see if they have power. Check your circuit breakers or fuses to be sure they have not tripped or blown. A tripped circuit breaker switch will be in the middle of the block. To reset the breaker, push it all the way to the off position, then back on, and check the power again.
If you still don't have power inside your house, go outside and look at your electrical service meter. If the large wheel in the meter is spinning, electricity is entering your home and the problem is with your internal wiring. Pull the main circuit breaker and call a licensed electrician.
Step 2: Check with your neighbors If your circuit breakers or fuses are OK and the wheel in your meter is not turning, check with your neighbors. Many times, particularly during high wind or storms, the transformer or service lines to your home may be the only ones affected. At other times, the outage will be more widespread, affecting several homes or entire neighborhoods.
Step 3: Report the outage Once you have determined that the problem is not inside your home, you need to report the outage to the City of Griffin. To report an outage, call the Griffin Power Operations Center at 770-229-6406. Please have the following information available when you call: your name, street address, telephone number and account number. Also, tell us if other homes near you seem to be affected. Once we have the appropriate information, we will dispatch a service crew to locate the problem and get the power back on as quickly as possible.
Step 4: Please be patient When a major outage occurs, Griffin Power receives numerous calls from customers reporting the outage. You may have difficulty getting through to us due to the number of calls coming in. Once you have reported the outage, please don't call back to see when the service will be restored, because we probably won't be able to tell you. Every outage is different, and the time will vary with the type and size of the outage. Rest assured, we will restore service as quickly as we can.
How Service is Restored During an Outage
When an outage does occur, Griffin Power follows an established industry process to reestablish service to our customers. The first step is to try and find the cause of the outage. We will usually be able to determine the cause of the outage and restore your service very quickly, as most service interruptions are limited to small groups of customers.
Occasionally, however, ice or severe storms will cause a widespread outage, requiring a few hours or longer to resolve. When these major outages occur, the procedure used is to restore power to critical services (911 centers, police, fire, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) first. Next, we prioritize our work to get service to the largest groups of customers possible to maximize the effectiveness of our line crews. We then work with smaller groups of customers, working down to individual homes or businesses.
Our trouble trucks may be seen traveling up and down the line searching for downed lines, blown fuses and trees or limbs on the lines. Once the lines are repaired or found to be intact, the line crew will attempt to reestablish service from the substation out toward the end of the line. If the substation holds, the greatest number of customers will have their service resgtored at one time. The crew will then follow the main line out to its end, closing additional breakers or switches that may be open. This will reestablish service to groups of homes off the main line. Finally, they will respond to individual homes that have not had had their service restored by these other efforts, working around the clock until all of our customers ocne again have electrical service.
Electrical accidents in the home are a common occurrence and can range from a slight electrical shock to a life-threatening incident. To ensure the safety of your home and minimize the possibility of a serious electrical injury, conduct an electrical safety audit, both inside and outside, and make any necessary improvements as quickly as possible.
- Be sure your home is properly grounded according to the National Electric Code. If you are not sure, obtain a ground detector from your local building supply or hardware store and follow the manufacturer's direction for its use.
- Have any wiring projects performed by a licensed electrician to assure conformance to the National Electric Code and any additional local codes.
- Be sure that any outdoor electrical outlets are designed and approved for outdoor use and are equipped with the appropriate covers.
- If your home is equipped with an older style fuse box, never replace a blown fuse with a larger size fuse or other device. This could result in fire or serious injury.
- Have the electric department install a service entrance surge protector between the incoming power and the electric meter. This will prevent damage to motor-driven appliances (air conditioners and heat pumps, washers and dryers, refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers and hard-wired fans, etc.) in the event of electrical surges caused by lightning or other sources.
- If you are working outdoors, be aware of the location of incoming utility lines. Striking them with ladders, tools or other devices could cause serious injury or death.
- Inspect all electrical cords for signs of wear. If the insulation is damaged or frayed, repair or replace the cord before using it.
- Never cut the ground connector off a cord or use an adapter to bypass it. Always ground any electrical device for your safety.
- When using extension cords, never connect more devices into the cord than there are outlet for. This could overload the rating of the cord, resulting in a fire.
- Make sure the rating of the cord (in amps) is greater than the device being connected to it. Some devices, like power saws, hedge trimmers, air compressors, etc. have high ratings not suited for use on small, low-rated cords.
Appliances and Electronic Devices
- Use point-of-use surge protectors to prevent damage to electronic devices (computers, stereos, TV's, microwave ovens, etc.) and to provide insurance in case the surge protector fails to perform properly. For TVs and phone devices, be sure the surge protector provides inputs for the coaxial cable or phone line as well. For more information, check out our section on Surge Protection.
- Do not use electrical appliances (hair dryers, food processors, electric knives, etc.) around water (sinks, bathtubs, water on counters). This can cause a ground condition which can lead to serious injury or death.
- Replace electric outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other "wet areas" with ground-fault detector outlets for added safety.
- Plug appliances directly into grounded electrical outlets. Do not use extension cords unless absolutely necessary.
- Keep cords away from moving or heated parts of appliances to prevent damage to the cord and possible injury or fire.
Responding to Electrical Emergencies
Step 1: Assess
- Survey the scene to determine the type of accident and whether it is safe to approach the accident. Look for loose wires, electrical sparks, standing water, etc., that could still be conducting electricity.
- If you are involved in an automobile accident and there are wires on you car, stay in your vehicle until the wires are removed by the electric department.
Step 2: Act
- Disconnect the source of power that caused the accident. Unplug power tools or appliances, or throw the breaker on the affected circuit. If unsure, throw the main breaker.
- Assign someone to immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
- If you are qualified, conduct a primary assessment. Check the patient's ABC's in the position the patient was found - do not move them:
- Arousal - What is the patient's level of consciousness?
- Airway - Make usre the person's airway is open
- Breathing - Is the patient breathing? If not, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is required.
- Bleeding - Check the patient for signs of severe bleeding. Control with direct pressure as required.
- Circulation - Check the patient's carotid artery for a pulse. If no pulse is detected, apply CPR if you are trained. <.li>
- Shock - Treat the patient for shock. Elevate the feet above the head if no injury is present, and maintain the patient's normal body temperature, warming or cooling the patient as appropriate.
- Maintain the patient until the emergency medical service responds. Tell the EMS personnel the circumstances of the accident and what you have done to assist the patient.
Step 3: Evaluate
- Patients of electric shock should seek medical evaluation. The introduction of an electrical shock to the body can alter the body's own electrical impulses. This change may be unnoticeable at first, becoming more serious over time.
Use these enerby saving ideas in your home to make your household more efficient and to save money on your electric bill.
- Where possible, change your lighting from incandescent bulbs to high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs. A 23-watt fluorescent bulb provides the same light output as a 60-watt incandescent, while using about 1/3 as much electricity.
- Place outdoor lighting on a timer or photocell to ensure that it does not burn during daylight hours.
- Turn off lights and appliances when you are not using them.
Heating & Cooling
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control your heating and air conditioning. Set the temperature for a lower or higher setting (around 65 degrees in the winter, 80 degrees in the summer) when the house will be empty for long periods of time (during the work day, wekend trips, etc.) and while you are sleeping.
- Consider lowering your thermostat by one or two degrees in the winter and wearing a warm shirt or light sweater for that cozy feeling.
- Check doors and windows for air tightness. If drafts are detected, improve caulking and/or weather-stripping to eliminate them.
- Keep the fireplace flue closed tightly when the fireplace is not in use.
- Lower water heater setting to less than their maximum heat setting. For most families, a low setting (around 120 degrees) will be quite comfortable. This will conserve energy by 10 to 15 percent, and less cold water will be required to lower the water's temperature to a level comfortable to the touch.
- Cover your hot water heater with a thermal blanket to limit heat loss through the walls and top of the heater. Obtain the proper blanket for an electric or gas water heater from your local building supply dealer or hardware store, and install it according to the directins supplied by the manufacturer.
Food Preparation & Storage
- Try to limit the number of times you open the refrigerator/freezer when preparing meals. Each time you open the door, refrigerated air escapes, causing the compressor to run. Remove all of the ingredients you will need at one time to minimize cold air loss.
- Don't overcrowd your refrigerator. This limits air circulation around foods, thus requiring a colder setting to keep the food fresh.
- Don't preheat the oven unless the recipe specifically requires it (such as when baking cookies, cakes, bread, etc.). Most food, like meats and vegetables, don't require pre-heating, allowing you to save on energy costs.
- Reduce the amount of water used to cook foods on the stove top and put covers on pans. You will be able to use lower heat settings, yet foods will cook faster.
- Plan meals that can be cooked outdoors on the grill. The food tastes great, the entire family gets involved and you won't add heat to your homes interior.