Source: Blue Crest Electric Ltd.
1. Check to see if the power outage is isolated to your home or if your neighbors are also affected. If the power outage is also affecting your neighbor's home, call the BC Hydro Trouble line at 1-888-POWER ON (1-888-769-3766) or *HYDRO (*49376) from a cell phone, to report the problem. Visit the BC Hydro Lower Mainland Map View site for a possible power loss explanation. You will need to find a computer that has power or use a cell phone with internet access. This site is updated every few minutes so you should be provided with relatively current information.
2. Stay far away (at least 10 meters / 33 feet) from fallen or compromised power lines. Never try to remove ice, branches or downed trees from or near the power lines yourself. After power has been safely restored, hire a professional to remove any branches still spanning power lines on your property.
3. If the power loss is isolated to your home, check your electrical circuit panel as you may need to Reset a Tripped Breaker. This is where a Correctly Labeled Electrical Panel is helpful as it is important to quickly identify the correct breaker in the event of an emergency. Call us if we can help you with either of these tasks.
4. When the power is restored, regardless of the cause of the outage, a power surge may follow. Therefore, it is important to turn OFF or unplug all electronic appliances before the return of power, to prevent possible damage or injury should a surge occur. This step is not necessary if a whole home surge protector has already been installed directly on the electrical panel. Learn more about Power Surges and Surge Protection here.
5. If you are experiencing a partial power loss, a correctly sized extension cord may be used to keep essential appliances such as the freezer, refrigerator and sump pump working until the problem is repaired.
6. Take extreme caution if using a portable backup generator or an alternate heat or light source during a power outage. Although candles may provide a nostalgic touch, a flashlight is a much safer option. Follow the manufacturer's directions meticulously when using a portable backup generator, portable stove, barbecue or any other fuel burning equipment. This equipment should never be used indoors as it emits an odorless, invisible and deadly carbon monoxide gas. Furthermore, incorrect use of portable generators can create a back feed situation and thereby pose a serious safety risk to electrical crews working on damaged lines near your home.