What to Do in Power Outages in Texas Part 1 - Amigo Energy Blog

What to Do in a Power Outage Part 1

by | Renewable Energy, Tips and Tricks

Previously, we’ve covered what causes power outages in Texas. But have you ever wondered what to do first when your lights go out? Wonder no more because we have some advice based on our years of experience in the energy business. This post covers what you should do immediately after a Texas power outage and who you should contact to get it switched back on. Read more below so that you’re better prepared for the next minor power outage.

The Lights Are on Next Door

1. Check Your Breakers or Fuses
When your neighbors’ lights are on and yours aren’t, the first thing you should do is check your breakers or fuses. Start by locating your electric panel, which is usually housed in a closet, attic, garage, or basement. If your electric panel runs on breakers, look for any in the off position and switch them back to the on position. If your home uses fuses instead of breakers, look for any melted or discolored fuses and replace them.

In the event that the breaker reflexively flips back to the off position, or if the power remains off after you’ve replaced the faulty fuse, you might have a wiring problem and you should call a professional electrician.

What to Do:
  • Locate your electric panel
  • Switch breakers back on or replace blown fuses
  • Call an electrician if the power remains out

2. Check for Downed Wires
If your electric panel is all in order, you might have a downed power line outside your house, so survey your house, yard, and street to see if notice any broken or sparking wires. As you’re searching, remember to always treat downed wires as live electric wires—never touch them. You’ll also want to steer clear of any objects touching wires, such as tree branches. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least ten feet away from any downed lines or other potential conductors of electricity.

If you see a downed or damaged wire, take note of its position so that you can easily report it.

What to Do:
  • Visually scan the area
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from wires
  • Stay away from objects touching wires

3. Call Your Transmission and Distribution Service Provider
Reach out to your local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP)—the company responsible for maintaining electric poles and wires—as soon as possible to make them aware of the outage. In the case of downed wires, it’s especially important to inform the company of the issue, as damaged lines could pose a fire or safety hazard.

If you aren’t sure which TDSP serves your area, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has mapped out the regions serviced by Texas TDSPs. We suggest calling the TDSP indicated on the PUCT map to make sure it matches up with your actual address.

What to Do:
Contact your TDSP:
  • CenterPoint: 1-800-313-4747
  • AEP Texas: 1-866-223-8508
  • TNMP: 1-888-866-7456
  • Oncor: 1-88-313-4747

Your Block Doesn’t Have Power

1. Verify the Power Outage
Let’s say you peer out the window and notice that your neighborhood looks a little darker than expected. A good first step is to check in with a trusted neighbor. Do they have power? Have they heard anything about the outage? Memorize, or write down, your neighbor’s number just in case something happens to your cellphone and you can’t access your contacts.

What to Do:
  • Reach out to a trusted neighbor
  • Ask if they have any details

2. Reach Out to Your TDSP
Next, contact your TDSP and let them know that your neighborhood is experiencing an outage. Chances are they’ve already received numerous phone calls explaining the situation, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What to Do:
  • Call your service provider
  • Provide any pertinent details

3. Check Your Power Every So Often
Once you’ve called your neighbor and TDSP, unplug all electrical devices and turn off all lights except one. Unplugging your devices will help protect them from a power surge when power is restored, and the single light left on will serve as an indicator to let you know when the power is back up.

What to Do:
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics
  • Leave one light on to monitor when power returns

4. Start Prepping for Longer Outages
If your neighborhood is still without power after a couple of hours, start preparing for the possibility of a major outage. Make a plan to safely gather necessary supplies, including food, water, blankets, a first-aid kit, and battery-powered equipment like a radio and flashlights. Try to collect enough supplies to last at least seventy-two hours.

What to Do:
  • Collect enough food and water to last 72 hours
  • Gather blankets, flashlights, and first-aid kits

Now that you have a better idea of what to do first during a power outage, don’t forget to read more on the Amigo Energy Blog, which features safety tips geared toward major power outages and more.