Report an Outage
Managing the Outage at Your Home
Before calling Platte-Clay to report a possible outage:
1. Check your breakers or fuse box to make certain the problem is outside of your home, rather than an “outage” caused because of too many items plugged into a circuit. If you can see lights at your neighbors’ homes or nearby businesses, that may be a hint that the problem is within your home.
Check the main breaker. Some members have their service entrance located on a pole or a pedestal in the yard near the road. In that case, please go to the pole or pedestal and flip the main breaker back and forth to make sure that it is on. It’s difficult to tell the correct position of the breakers without checking by actually moving them back and forth. After checking the main breaker, also check individual circuit breakers by flipping them back and forth.
Please make certain that all responsible members of the family, including babysitters and guests, know how to check the breakers and to flip them off and on to determine if the outage is caused by a problem within the home (or business) or on the lines coming to the co-op member’s home or building.
2. If the breakers and fuses are fine, please call Platte-Clay anytime, day or night, to report an outage (816) 628-3121. Please have your location number, found on the bill, or current telephone number available, so the automated database, dispatcher or customer service representative can quickly identify your address with this information.
Because telephone numbers are a key part of member identification, Platte-Clay asks that members keep their account information current.
3. Please follow the prompts to report the outage.
The integrated telephone and PCEC member database system will note where the outages are, which will help pinpoint problems and allow Platte-Clay crews to respond quicker. In the event of a widespread outage, other members may have reported the outage, and the automated service will let you know that.
4. Please be patient.
In general, Platte-Clay will not be able to give members a time when the electric service will be back on. The system is large and complex and there are many variables. Crews will be called out to repair damage, and additional crews will come in from neighboring systems to help, if necessary, through the co-op’s mutual aid program.
While most problems are resolved within hours, a storm can severely damage the electrical system and it can take days, or even weeks to repair and restore the electric power routes.
In an outage situation, restoring service as soon as possible, in accordance with electric industry safe practices, will be our highest priority. Click here to see how power will be methodically restored during a widespread outage.
Please unplug sensitive electronic equipment, such as personal computers and other electronics in stormy conditions and always use an electronics-grade power strip available at hardware and electronics stores.
5. Plan ahead.
Knowing that Missouri can be coated with ice in the winter and facilities damaged or even destroyed by tornadoes, lightning, wind or violent thunderstorms in the warmer months means that we all should have a written Emergency Plan, and back up power sources, especially for those who are on medical equipment that requires electricity.
Platte-Clay encourages members to determine now where you and your family will go and will do in the event you will be without power for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks.
Planning ahead and establishing what to do in an emergency will go a long way in managing most problems.
6. Tips for a “Power Outage Kit.”
For winter, that may include firewood stored in the garage, so it is close and dry, sleeping bags, setting up tents so your family learns about indoor camping and cooking over an open fire in the fireplace, flashlights, extra batteries, candles, wind-up or solar-powered radios and cell phone chargers or an emergency generator to power certain appliances or even your entire home or business.
Dried foods and soups that rehydrate with hot water are easy for cooks of all ages to prepare.
Never use anything that burns fuel, such as a grill or a generator, in an unventilated area; they should be used outside to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
During cold weather, close doors, windows and curtains to save heat. Put on extra layers of clothes, and wear shoes and socks. Select one room to occupy and make certain it’s properly ventilated. Use extra blankets to cover and help insulate windows.
A trial run will help families prepare for the unexpected and allow finetuning for more comfort the next time. Learning about how to cope with no electricity can be a family adventure and teach important coping skills.
For summer, an outage kit could include candles, flashlights, spare batteries, tents for indoor or outdoor camping, a grill and charcoal for cooking outside and an accumulation of ice chests for keeping food cold.
A refrigerator will keep food safe and cold for about four hours if the door is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information on emergency preparedness, click here or do a search for USDA or FDA food safety fact sheets for more information.
Special toys that don’t require electricity, books, crafts, board games, cards and amusements for kids will help entertain during an electrical outage. Reading about early settlers and how they got by can help with their imagination and coping skills.
7. Safety First
Always keep away from downed power lines. Touching a power line, or anything that is touching a power line, can cause serious injury or death.
Stay away from trees that are touching a power line: they can conduct electricity and cause injury or death.
Check the National Weather Service website, tune into a local radio or TV station for weather updates.
Note: if you have trees or vegetation growing into power lines, please call Platte-Clay (816) 628-3121 now so we can trim them back for safety. Most of the outages in the December, 2007, ice storm were caused by falling trees and limbs and could have been avoided had the co-op been notified and the trees trimmed.
8. Generator Safety
Never connect a portable electric generator to the main electrical supply coming into the house. The generator could feed back into Platte-Clay’s system and electrocute workers who are working on the electrical lines.
To avoid back-feeding electricity into the utility system, a qualified, licensed electrician should install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch between the generator and utility power in compliance with all state and local electrical codes. A minimum of 10-gauge wiring must be used. For more information, call (816) 628-3121.
9. Generator Sizing
Standby generators come in a wide variety of models and sizes and are available from several manufacturers. Platte-Clay sells Kohler units.
Smaller, portable gasoline, diesel or propane generators are designed for smaller loads and should be located outside of the home.
Larger, permanently-mounted generators run on gasoline, diesel or propane and are big enough to provide enough power for a home or a business. The larger units automatically start and run each month to make sure all systems are working and can alert owners if something is amiss.
To determine the generator size, first establish the essential “load” or the electrical equipment to be powered during an outage.
Start by making a list of each item and noting the watts required for each item—including lights. Once you have that information, a Platte-Clay representative, or any other supplier, will be able to match a unit with your needs.