Press Releases

PUC Urges Residents to Report Power Outages; Use Extreme Caution Around Downed Utility Lines

April 03, 2016

HARRISBURG – As high winds and unsettled spring weather sweeps across Pennsylvania the Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded residents of what to do in the event of a power outage, and also urged the use of extreme caution around any downed utility lines.

PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown noted that utility crews are working across the state to assess problems, make repairs and restore service to several thousand residents who are currently experiencing outages as the result of high winds. The PUC continues to monitor the situation and is in close contact with utilities, the Governor’s Office and the other state agencies involved in storm response.

Should you lose power during a storm, the PUC offers the following tips:

  • Call your utility. Do not assume that the utility already knows about your outage or that others in your neighborhood have already called.
  • Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. A cellular phone or corded phone will work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity.
  • Do NOT touch or get near any fallen lines, and stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.
  • If you have a downed power line or other hazardous situation, call 9-1-1 and contact your utility.
  • Do NOT try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

Residents should also be aware that when electricity is lost, priority is given to locations that can restore larger numbers of customers and high priority customers such as nursing homes, emergency shelters, emergency governmental services and hospitals.

If you are waiting for service to be restored, the PUC offered the following additional tips:

  • Check your utility’s outage reporting website, which can provide an interactive picture of ongoing repair efforts.
  • Monitor social media, like Facebook and Twitter, for utility updates and important storm-related information – but do not share personal account information on social sites.
  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment.
  • After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
  • If you are going to use a generator, do not run it inside a home or garage. Also, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator, not your home's electrical system, which could shock or injure utility crews working on nearly power lines.
  • Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles or other potential fire hazards.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.


Contact:Nils Hagen-Frederiksen
Press Secretary

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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