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Power Outages and Outage Safety

We are proud to provide reliable and dependable service to all of our customers across our service territory. Despite this, unplanned outages do happen. When they do, we work as quickly as possible to restore your power and provide you with updates and important restoration information as soon as it is available.

View outages in Kitchener or Wilmot

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View outages in Waterloo, Woolwich, or Wellesley

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How Can We Help You Stay Safe?

How Can I Prepare for an Outage?

High winds, thunderstorms, ice, and snow, can lead to unplanned power outages  We want to help you and your family prepare for unexpected outages and emergencies by providing you with the tools you need to create an emergency preparedness kit and ensure your home is safe if the lights go out.

  1. Make an Emergency Plan and share it with your family so everyone knows what to do in the case of an emergency. Visit the Government of Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Plan page for help building a plan that will suit your needs.
  2. Prepare an Emergency Preparedness Kit and store it in an easy-to-find location. Be sure to stock your kit to last for at least 72 hours. See the Emergency Preparedness Kit online resource page to learn what needs to be in your kit.
  3. Use surge protectors to protect sensitive electrical equipment such as computers, DVD players, and televisions.
  4. Bring outdoor items inside. Any outdoor items such as patio furniture can become safety hazards during a storm. Make sure to move them inside in advance.
  5. Include a battery-operated flashlight in your emergency kit to avoid using candles, as they can be fire hazards.

Additional Emergency Preparedness Resources

My power is out, how can I stay safe?

If your power has gone out, or you’re having issues with your home’s electricity, please check the online outage maps for current outage updates.

If you live in Kitchener or Wilmot see your online outage map here. If you live in Waterloo, Wellesley, or Woolwich, you can access the online outage map here.

If you do not see your outage listed, call us at 226-896-2200 to report your outage.

  1. What Causes a Power Outage?
    A variety of factors can cause power outages. Small animals, like squirrels, sometimes chew into lines or come into contact with a piece of equipment and an energized line, which results in their demise and likely a power interruption for you. Severe weather, including wind, snow, ice and lightning, also leads to unplanned power outages. Equipment failure, tree contacts and damage caused by excavations can also lead to unplanned power outages.
  2. Sometimes the power goes out for just a second or two, why is that?
    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 raccoons cause A/Rs. To help decrease the danger to animals and reduce the number of unplanned outages caused by animal contacts, we install animal guarding on our equipment. Animal guards are attached above pole-top transformers. These cone-shaped guards save the lives of hundreds of animals across our service territory every year

Power Outage Safety Tips

If the power does go out at your home or business, there are several things you can do to help avoid electrical hazards and ensure our crews can work safely as they try to restore your power and repair damaged equipment:

  • Do not touch downed or low-hanging wires. Always assume that downed powerlines are live. Call 9-1-1 to report the issue and remain at least 10 metres (the length of a full-sized school bus) away from downed powerlines at all times. Learn more by watching this helpful animated video.
  • Do not use a portable generator or barbeque indoors. This is dangerous and could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If a powerline falls on a vehicle you are in and you can’t drive away from it, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives. If you have to get out for safety reasons, such as fire, jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. Watch this video for more information on how to exit the vehicle safely.
  • Be sure to turn off any electronics and appliances that were on before the power went out. This includes stoves, small appliances and electric heaters or fireplaces.
  • Never walk into areas where powerline technicians are working. If you are driving near work crews, follow road signs, avoid distractions and proceed cautiously so our crews can continue working to repair damage to the distribution system.
  • Use flashlights, LED lights or lamps or smartphone flashlights instead of candles. If you have to use candles, never leave them burning if you’re not monitoring them.
  • Avoid opening your fridge or freezer. Keep your fridge closed to maintain temperatures. Have water outside of the fridge in an accessible location and make sure everyone knows where this is.

Additional Outage Safety Resources

We want to help you learn as much as you can about power outage safety. Below is a short list of resources that can assist you during a power outage:

  1. The Electrical Safety Authority has a dedicated Power Outage and Electrical Safety page, containing information on staying safe during outages and getting repairs made once the outage is over.
  2. Check this infographic to learn how power is restored following an outage.
  3. Visit the Region of Waterloo’s Emergency Preparedness page

How Do I Stay Safe Following an Outage?

Once a storm has ended and powerline technicians have begun to restore power to impacted customers, there are still electrical safety hazards that you need to watch for. There are a number of things you can do to help your neighbours, your family, and our technicians continue to stay clear of hazards following an unplanned power outage.

  • Inspect your property for damage. Before turning back on appliances and electronics, inspect your home and outdoor areas for damage. Document any damage so you can arrange for repairs.
  • Check on friends and neighbours. Prioritize checking on older, more isolated neighbours to see if they need anything and make sure they are safe.
  • Carefully check the food in your refrigerator and freezer. If the outage was longer than 24 – 48 hours, don’t take any chances with spoiled food. You can also place a bag of ice cubes in the freezer. If they melt, it is a sign that your food has defrosted and could be spoiled.
  • Do not attempt to remove a fallen tree or branches from powerlines.
  • Avoid downed powerlines. Call 9-1-1 to report the issue and remain at least 10 metres (the length of a school bus) away from downed powerlines at all times. Learn more by watching this helpful animated video.
  • Check your electrical panel for damage. If there is any damage to your system, turn off your power at the distribution panel. Hire a licensed electrical contractor to make repairs for you.

There is damage to the electrical equipment attached to my home, how do I have it repaired?

If there is damage to the equipment that connects your home to the electricity distribution system, we may not be able to restore your power until repairs are made. Even if you do have power or never lost it, you may still have damage that needs repair. 

Typically, a homeowner’s ownership of electrical equipment begins where the wires attach to the house. This means the wire from the pole to the house is generally our responsibility, but the wires inside the mast/stack and equipment attached to the house belong to you, the homeowner. If this equipment is damaged, you need to arrange repairs before we can safely reconnect power. You should start this process immediately. 

There are four steps to get repairs done:

  1. Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself. Stay back to avoid the risk of shock or electrocution.
  2. Hire a licensed electrical contractor to make repairs for you.
  3. Your contractor will reach out to us to request a service layout and file a permit with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Once the work is completed, an ESA inspector will approve the work and let us know we can reconnect your power.
  4. Be sure to request a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection and keep it for your records

Please see this handout for detailed information on making repairs to your electrical system and the types of damage you may experience following a storm.

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