Power Outage FAQs
We've provided answers to several frequently asked questions about power outages to help you to better understand outages and how to stay safe.
Verify your entire house is out. Check fuses or breakers.
If you have determined your home is out of power, unplug any appliances you were using when the power went out. Leave a light on so you know when power is restored.
If your power remains out for more than a few minutes:
Call Northeastern REMC's Power's Outage Line at 888-413-6111.
If the outage is widespread, our phone lines may be busy when you call. Please be patient; your call is important to us.
When you report an outage, provide as many details as possible. If you heard a loud bang or your neighbors have power, let us know. This will help us restore power as quickly as possible.
We monitor our electric system and often know about outages on distribution circuits, power lines and substations, but we do not always know about outages impacting just a few members. To ensure we are aware of your outage, please call us at 888-413-6111, or login to SmartHub to report your outage. Please do not assume that someone else has reported your outage. By letting us know when you experience an outage, you help our crews restore your service more quickly.
The outage restoration process begins at the point where power feeds into Northeastern's system. This could be at a substation, transmission line or a main distribution line. After these repairs have been made, crews work on remaining outages and correct the trouble, beginning with areas serving the greatest number of members and continuing until electricity is restored to each member’s home.
If you see a NREMC service crew passing but not stopping, it is because work must first be performed at a nearby location or device before electric service can be restored to your home. Following the outage restoration process ensures all members have their power restored as quickly and safely as possible.
In the event of a large outage affecting numerous locations, we attempt to use the following as a guideline to base restoration priorities:
Individuals on life support
Three phase lines
Single phase lines
Each outage is a result of different circumstances, and some may take longer to identify and restore than others. As a result, outage restoration information may not be immediately available. Please also take into consideration the weather conditions. Adverse and unpredictable weather can cause further delays for our linemen who are trying to work as efficiently and as safely as possible
Outages occur for a number of reasons. In the event of a large or wide-spread outage, we prioritize repairs in order to get the largest number of members back on first.
First, we check and repair any damaged transmission lines. These are the lines that bring power to our electrical system.
Equipment or line repairs at substations will be done next in order to transfer power from transmission lines to the main distribution lines throughout our service area.
After the substations are repaired, we turn our attention to our main distribution lines, and then to tap lines, which carry electricity from the main distribution lines to smaller groups of members.
Once all distribution lines and tap lines are repaired, we begin working on service lines, which typically bring power to only one or two locations.
Restoring power during inclement weather or after a large accident can be a big job. Northeastern REMC maintains a 24-hour, 365 day-a-year dispatch center so if you should lose power, be assured we’re working as quickly as possible to get your lights back on.
Before calling to report an outage, check your home’s breaker panel (and any outdoor disconnects) to make sure the outage is not due to a tripped breaker. Check to see if your neighbors are also out of power. This will help you determine if the problem exists within your home, or on NREMC's system.
If you determine the problem is outside your home, report your outage to NREMC. You will need the following information available when you call: account number or phone number on the account and any details related to the outage. Please let us know if you heard a loud bang, saw damaged equipment or if your neighbors have power, but you do not.
A "power blink" is when your lights appear to flicker for just a split second up to a few seconds. Power blinks occur when an object, such as a tree limb, comes into contact with a power line or other equipment. To prevent an extended outage, damage to the line or your home, a "recloser" will sense a change in current caused by the obstruction and briefly interrupt electricity for a fraction of a second. There is no need to report power blinks.
Occasionally during an outage, your power may temporarily go out after being restored. In these situations, it usually means linemen are working on a power line or other electrical equipment in order to restore power to other members.
Although weather and animals are beyond our control, cooperative members can reduce the effects and inconvenience of "blinks" when they occur. When purchasing small appliances and digital clocks, consider a model with battery backup.
Northeastern also offers whole house surge protection for major appliances, your computer or other electronic devices whose "memory" would be lost with a power interruption.
Consider all fallen wires to be energized, regardless of whether or not they appear to be safe. Report the fallen power line to us immediately. Make sure your children, pets and neighbors stay away from the power line and any objects it may be touching.
- If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging.
- Have an alternate source of light: keep flashlights and extra batteries where they can be found easily. Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires.
- Stock emergency food and related items. Ideal choices are nonperishable foods that require no cooking, such as canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, tuna, and bread.
- Keep a manual can opener handy, along with disposable plates and utensils.
- If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.
- If your water at home is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs. During an outage, you may flush a toilet, then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. Turn off the water supply to the toilet before flushing. Toilet tanks hold several gallons of water, so plan accordingly. Remember, melted snow or ice can be a source of water during winter outages (but not for drinking). During the summer, you may be able to use water from a pool or hot tub.
- Plan an alternate source of heat in the event of a cold-weather crisis. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, keep adequate kindling and firewood on hand. Have extra clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags available.
- If you plan to use a portable generator, place the generator outside, not in a crawl space, basement, or attached garage. Make sure your generator is connected safely; an improperly connected generator can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
- Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, especially if you have special medical needs and require electricity. But, it can also be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Be aware that it’s against the law, and a violation of electrical codes, to connect a generator to your home’s electrical circuits without a generator transfer switch automatic-interrupt device. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping to restore power in your area.
Even though the wires coming into your home are buried, overhead wires bring electricity to those underground wires from the substation.
There are several reasons this can happen. First, there may be damage to the service wires leading only to your home. These would not affect your neighbor’s electric supply.
Second, your neighbor’s home may be served by a different circuit or feed than your home, even though you are right next door. The homes and businesses on our system are not connected in a straight line, but are more connected like a spider web that crisscrosses from place to place.
Severe weather is only one of the causes of power outages. On even a perfect sunny day, a tree can fall over and contact power lines, a vehicle could crash into a pole, small animals can enter substations and climb on electrical equipment and electrical equipment can fail unexpectedly.
When the power is out, avoid the number of times you open and close the doors to your refrigerator and freezer to protect your food. If the doors remain closed, refrigerated and frozen food can remain safely cold for a period of time. Be sure to use your best judgement on consuming food that may have thawed during an extended power outage.