Our winters are notorious for strong winds that may cause a power outage. Franklin PUD has line crews on call around the clock, 24/7, ready to restore power as quickly as possible. If you experience a power outage please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 509-542-5300 or 800-638-7701 to report it.
If you spot a downed line, assume all wires and power lines are live and never touch one. Keep everyone out of the area and immediately call 911.
Here are some simple things you can do to be prepared during a storm or outage:
Essential supplies to have on hand:
- Flashlights and batteries
- Glow-in-the-dark sticks
- Portable radio and batteries
- Windup clock
- Mylar blanket
- Can opener
- Keep flashlights ready and in an easy place to find. A flashlight in the bottom of a closet may be hard to find in the dark.
- If your phone is cordless, it relies on power to work. To assure phone service, have one phone that doesn’t need power or uses batteries.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer. The contents should be good for at least 24 hours if the door is kept closed.
- When the power goes out, try to remember what was turned on at the time and turn those items off. It's especially important to turn off anything that has a heating element, such as the electric range, an iron, or a toaster oven. They could cause a fire when the power is restored. Turning switches off not only helps prevent fires; it will help us restore power faster. If too many items are on when the power is restored, the electric system could be overloaded and go out again.
- If you need power for medical reasons it is important to have a plan in case of an outage. Be prepared to go someplace that has power or to the hospital.
If you use a portable generator it must be connected through an approved transfer switch that is isolated from Franklin PUD's system.
Follow these safety guidelines for generator use:
By following the guidelines and the instructions provided by the manufacturer, you will be better prepared to use your generator safely. By operating your generator properly you also protect the safety of others, including Franklin PUD employees who work on power lines.
Operation Guidelines and Safety Information
Portable (temporary) generators can help save food in your refrigerator or freezer, keep lights on for safety and security, or provide electricity for other essential equipment during a power outage. These generators are intended only for short-term use and must not be connected directly to a home's electrical system.
Portable generator operation guidelines:
Before starting a generator, carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Place the generator outside so deadly exhaust fumes vent away from family members and pets.
- The total electric load on your generator must not exceed the manufacturer's rating.
- Prioritize your needs. Use the lowest wattage light bulbs that provide a safe level of light, reserving power for additional lighting or a small appliance. The greater the load on a generator, the more fuel it uses.
- Extension cords must be properly sized to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords may cause damage to equipment or present a fire hazard.
- Make sure to place cords out of the way so they don’t present a tripping hazard in a dimly lit area. Never run cords under rugs or carpet.
Permanently installed generators
Permanently installed generators are designed to switch on when the power goes out and may be necessary if you rely on life support or critical care equipment. When a generator is permanently connected to your electric system, carefully follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Permanent generator installation guidelines:
- A qualified professional, such as a licensed electrical contractor, must install the generator.
- An electrical permit through the State Department of Labor and Industries is required.
- Installation of a transfer switch, which meets national electrical code, is required. A licensed electrician must install the transfer switch and connect it to the generator.
- Contact Franklin PUD to disconnect your electric service while the transfer switch is installed.
- The appropriate electrical inspector must approve the installation of the transfer switch.
- Upon approval, the inspector will notify the PUD and your power will be reconnected.
The important role of a Transfer Switch
A generator connected to a building's electric system energizes the building's wiring, when that generator is turned on. Since the building is already connected to utility power lines, the generator also has the capability to energize the PUD system as well. That creates a dangerous hazard for PUD line crews working on power lines during an outage—power lines they assume are dead.
A double-pole, double-throw transfer switch is the recommended device to keep a permanent generator from feeding into the PUD system. The transfer switch also keeps PUD power from re-energizing your house wiring while your generator is running. This protects the generator, wiring, and appliances from being damaged when power is restored.