Our Response to COVID-19
Read the latest on Northland Utilities' response.
Electrical emergencies and outages can happen for many reasons. You should be aware and prepared for these situations.
We encourage everyone to be self-sufficient for 72 hours. The Government of Canada's Get Prepared website has information on how you can stay ready for an outage, and what to keep handy in case you lose power for an extended period of time.
Make sure you always know where your flashlights are. Can you find them in the dark? Check periodically to make sure they are working and you have extra batteries.
The dark can be scary for young children. Prepare them by playing a "lights-out" game to find the flashlight.
Keep candles and matches on hand. Remember, candles are romantic but potentially dangerous. Have solid, stable holders and be especially careful if there are children or pets around. Have a fire extinguisher (A-B-C type) on hand and know how to use it.
If the lights go off, determine whether it's really a power outage or a problem with your own breaker. Reach for your flashlight and check your main electric panel. A quick inspection can help determine whether one or more breaker switches may be turned ‘off’. Simply moving any tripped switches to the ‘off’ position and then to the ‘on’ position can restore power.
If it's not a fuse or a breaker, check whether your neighbour's power is also out. Remember that power can sometimes be lost in a localized area. Houses that are served by the same pole-mounted power transformer will be dark, while houses next door are fully lit.
If it is an outage, call Northland Utilities and report it. Sometimes it can be hard to get through because other customers are also reporting interruptions. Please be patient. It's likely we already know about the problem and are working to fix it.
Most furnaces will not operate without power to run the fan. However, the pilot light will remain on propane furnaces, and the furnace will resume operation as soon as power is restored.
Most new propane fireplace models will function without power. Their fans won't work, but most throw off enough radiant heat to make a difference.
Outdoor barbecues, kerosene heaters and camping heaters should never be used indoors because they emit carbon monoxide and can cause asphyxiation.
If you have a properly-ventilated wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have a supply of wood on hand. But remember that many fireplaces are not designed to burn at high temperatures for long periods and may be a safety hazard. Many traditional fireplaces can draw more heat out of the house than they supply. Energy-efficient fireplaces and stoves are a better bet.
Cordless phones or extension phones that require connection to an electric outlet won't work during power outages. Models that plug directly into the phone jack will work.
A battery radio lets you keep up with the news from the outside world. Make sure you have extra batteries. You could also use your car radio in an emergency, but do not run a vehicle in an enclosed garage.
There are three reasons to turn off any appliances you were using when the power went out.
Water in pipes or toilet bowls may freeze during a long cold-weather power outage. Some points to consider:
If the outage is likely to be prolonged, and the weather is cold, prepare to stay warm as your house cools down.
You still need ventilation, especially if regular cold-air intake systems are not working. You may want to keep a window open slightly.
Don’t run extension cords to the home of a neighbour who still has power because this may cause a fire due to overload.
Turn off all high-energy equipment. Leave one light on so that you know when the power is restored.
When power is restored, turn equipment back on over a 15-minute period, to protect your own equipment and help Northland Utilities resume service. This is because restarting equipment can take double the amount of electrical capacity it normally draws. When all this demand is placed on the power system it can cause a series of surges or voltage drops. These may cause protective switches to trip out and cause power to go off again.
Back up computer files frequently.
Consider buying an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for critical computers and other equipment. This provides temporary battery backup power to allow you to save data and turn the computer off safely without losing valuable information.
Routinely check backup battery systems for security, lighting, phone and computer equipment to make sure they are fully functional.
Make sure that emergency lighting systems are functional and are adequate for evacuating the building.
If your elevators are connected to an alternate power supply, verify the maximum number of elevators that can run without overloading the generator.
Review procedures in the case of an outage with employees, including:
Adequate ventilation can become an important concern if power is out.
Gas stoves in restaurants will continue to operate, but fans will be out of service. Inadequate ventilation can lead to a build up of carbon monoxide and other hazardous materials.
When turning off equipment, make sure that air conditioning and ventilation systems for the elevator equipment room are not shut off, to prevent equipment from overheating.