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Power Outages
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Power Outages

ONLINE   |   CALL 1-800-554-6773   |   OPPDCONNECT APP

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There are many things we think of when summer rolls around in the Midwest: fireflies, baseball, hot temperatures, and thunderstorms. Unfortunately, the last two items on that list also bring the possibility of power outages. Power outages are an occasional fact of life brought on by many triggers, but OPPD can help you navigate the situation. From reporting the outage to safety tips while you wait for power to be restored, OPPD wants to make sure you don’t feel left in the dark.

When the Lights Go Out

There are several things that can cause power outages – critters getting into transformers, overloaded circuits, trees and other items interfering with power lines, and weather events. OPPD is no stranger to major weather events causing widespread outages. From early winter storms, derechos, and severe thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds, OPPD has seen it all. We have handled major outage events in July 2021 (largest event on record so far), 2017, 2008, and 1997. OPPD staff and technicians are complete pros at solving the problem. But when the lights go out, what should you do?

Your first step is to report the outage. There are many platforms you can use to report an outage:
  • Call 1-800-554-OPPD (6773) – Be sure to report your outage using the hotline if you see more severe issues such as snapped poles, power lines on the ground, etc.
  • Use the OPPDconnect App (available for download on your smart phone or tablet)
  • Fill out and submit a Report an Outage form on the OPPD website
  • Visit the Storm & Outage Center at – This is also the best place to get storm and outage updates.

During the outage, make sure you turn off all of the lights in your house and unplug any appliances or electronic equipment such as stereos, TVs, gaming systems, etc. Although these devices won’t be running, it is beneficial to lessen the electrical load once the power is restored. This will also reduce the possibility of damages to your appliances and equipment from any power surges.

Power On!

In the event of an outage, OPPD begins working to restore power immediately – even if you don’t see crews in your neighborhood right away. OPPD does not prioritize restoration work based on specific areas or parts of town. We look at the work that can be completed quickly, safely, and will restore power to the largest number of customers. Then crews move on to more complex neighborhood work, including places with downed power lines and tree limbs on power lines.

In general, there are four steps OPPD takes to restore power after an outage:
  • Step 1: Repair main lines from substations
  • Step 2: Isolate damage and prioritize repairs
  • Step 3: Repair lines that serve small groups of homes
  • Step 4: Work on individual service lines

Once crews get to a neighborhood, they must first remove tree limbs or debris tangled in the lines. Then they move on to repairing poles and other components.

One important item to keep in mind: if the electric meter or the power pole mast attached to your house is damaged, you will need to hire an electrician to make repairs before OPPD can restore your power. Even if OPPD can restore you power temporarily, you need to get an electrician involved to make the proper repairs to our house.

Homeowner vs OPPD responsibility

Do Your Part to Prevent an Outage

Landscaping around a padmount transformerThere are steps you can take to help mitigate the risk of outage or to help crews complete restoration work. Something as simple as making good landscaping choices can help keep you from experiencing unpleasant outages following a standard summer storm.

If your lot includes a padmount transformer (green utility box), OPPD crews may need to access the transformer to help restore power after an outage. Any landscaping around the transformer must comply with clearance requirements to help provide access to crews. Ten feet of space should be left in front of the box; this is the side with the lock. Out of the remaining three sides, you need to leave three feet of clearance on two sides, and one foot of clearance on the final side. And remember that vegetation may end up being removed if better access is needed.

If you live in a neighborhood with overhead power lines, you should be very aware of trees and where you plant them. Small trees (10-20 feet tall) can be planted adjacent to power lines while larger trees should be planted 30 to 50 feet away from the lines. If a tree is already planted and in the way of power lines, they should be pruned around the lines, to limit the risk of limbs becoming entangled. Check out OPPD’s resources on trees and power lines, for more information.

There are other items that can get tangled in power lines and cause outages. If you are handling balloons, especially foil or mylar balloons, make sure to secure them tightly and dispose of them properly. Do not just let the balloons float off into the atmosphere. Trampolines can also cause hazards if they are not properly secured. A gust of wind can launch them over fences and even into power lines. If you have a trampoline, purchase an anchoring kit or some sandbags to keep it firmly on the ground.

Check out the links under Learn More! and keep an eye on our Storm & Outage Center to stay up to date on outages in the area and to find applicable safety tips.