SMECO: Be Prepared for Weather-Related Outages - Southern Maryland Headline News

SMECO: Be Prepared for Weather-Related Outages

With snow, sleet, and ice storms predicted for the Southern Maryland area, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is monitoring weather forecasts, and our crews are prepared to restore power when outages occur.

SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by 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.

We would like to remind our customer-members of steps they can take to prepare for power outages, as well:

• If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging. Call our special needs information number: 1-866-524-9402. In addition, you can check with your local fire department, which may offer temporary shelter.

• Keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.

• Stock nonperishable foods and keep a manual can opener handy. The ideal choices are foods that require no cooking, such as canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, and bread.

• Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.

• If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.

• If your home is connected to 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.

• Keep your automobile gas tank above half full.

• If you plan to use a portable generator, use extension cords to connect what you want to power directly to the generator. Place your generator outside, not in a crawl space or in a basement. Make sure your generator is connected safely; a generator that is not connected safely can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately.

• As in preparing for any other emergency, maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out.

• Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.

• Make sure that you have a standard phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. If you use a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.

If your power goes out:

• Call SMECO’s Outage Hotline (1-877-74-SMECO or 1-877-747-6326).

• Turn off all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This will prevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Then, try not to turn everything back on at once; turn on appliances gradually so the electric demand does not jump suddenly.

• Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away.

• Open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible. This will help food stay fresh longer.

• Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified SMECO crews handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling 1-888-440-3311.

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