September 23, 2018

SMECO: Prep Your Home for Power Outages

Power Outages

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative is watching the weather forecasts as Hurricane Florence makes her way toward the Eastern Seaboard. With the expected impact of heavy rains and high winds in Southern Maryland, residents in the area are urged to get ready for possible Power Outages.

Spokesperson Tom Dennison said SMECO is preparing to respond to outages that may be caused by falling trees and flooding. “With the ground already saturated from recent rainfall, the likelihood that trees will fall on power lines is increased,” Mr. Dennison said. “Even though nearly all of our customer-members now have smart meters, we ask that they report their outage if they lose power. Customers can call 1-877-74-SMECO (1-877-747-6326). They can also go online to our website, www.smeco.coop, or use SMECO’s text messaging service. We recently upgraded the SMECO 24/7 free mobile app with additional features, and we encourage customers to download the app or register for the texting service before bad weather hits.” Get more information about the app and text messaging service on SMECO’s website.

The co-op’s outage restoration policy is to prioritize repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Workers repair transmission lines and substations first, then distribution lines that feed neighborhoods. Tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity.

The co-op issued a list of helpful tips for customers.

  • If anyone in your home depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging.
  • If you will be using a portable generator, use extension cords and keep your generator outside, never in an attic, crawl space, or basement. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly. Make sure the generator is connected safely; a generator that is not connected safely can cause serious injury or death. When the power returns, turn off and disconnect the generator immediately.
  • Make sure flashlights and fresh batteries are on hand. Lanterns and candles are not a good idea because they can cause fires.
  • It is critical to never touch downed power lines or try to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines is likely to result in serious injury or death. Allow qualified SMECO crews to handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling 1-888-440-3311.
  • Keep nonperishable foods and a manual can opener handy. The ideal choices are foods that require no cooking, like fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, canned soup, cereal bars, and bread.
  • Don’t stock the refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.
  • If you plan to cook on a a charcoal or gas grill, keep the grill outside.
  • If your water is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
  • Be sure to have a standard or mobile phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity.
  • If you use a mobile phone or tablet, keep a charged power bank handy or use an auto adapter to recharge the mobile device.
  • Keep your automobile gas tank above half full.
  • Put fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Open the freezer and refrigerator as infrequently as possible. This will keep food fresh longer.
  • Check to make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away.

To learn more about SMECO, please visit its Leader member page.

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