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Debunking Power Outage Myths

Resetting Your Main Breaker

Causes of Outages and Blinks

If power is lost in your home, first look to see if it’s an internal problem. First check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker in your home’s main fuse/breaker panel. Even if the breaker is in the on position, flip the breaker off and back on to reset it.

If the problem is a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, be sure to unplug all major appliances before replacing the fuse or flipping the breaker to reduce the electrical load on the breaker going into the home.

If you have a meter base mounted on an electric pole, check that breaker as well. Open the cover below the meter, and you’ll see the main disconnect breaker. Flip the breaker off and back on to reset it.

If power hasn’t been restored after taking these steps, members are encouraged to contact the cooperative to report an outage. However, if North Central Electric crews are dispatched for an outage and the problem is found to be a blown fuse, a tripped circuit breaker in the home or a tripped circuit breaker inside the meter base, a minimum charge for after-hour calls may be charged to the member.

Members with a digital meter can also check to see if a reading is showing on the LED display. If the display is blank, then there is not power reading the meter and the member should call North Central Electric to report an outage. If a reading does appear, power is reaching the home and the loss of power is due to an issue on the member’s side. However, is could also be the result of partial power going to the home. If members are experiencing partial power, they should report the issue to North Central Electric.

Remember: The overhead or underground service from the point at which the wires exit the pole-mounted breaker box are considered the members wires and are the members responsibility, not the cooperatives.

North Central Electric is not responsible for locating the member’s wires. Members need to call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) by dialing 811 before they dig.

At North Central Electric Cooperative, member safety is important to us. Below is important safety information to help keep you and your family safe including power line safety, power lines and cars, and generator safety.

Power Line Safety

Accidentally contacting a power line can be dangerous and in some cases, even deadly. Your Touchstone Energy cooperative wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.

Keep a safe distance

Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from power lines and other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home.

Always remember to:

  • Stay away from power lines, meters, transformers and electrical boxes.
  • Don't climb trees near power lines.
  • Never fly kites, remote control aircrafts or balloons near power lines.
  • If you get something stuck in a power line, call North Central Electric Cooperative to get it.
  • Keep in safe distance from overhead power lines when working with ladders or installing objects such as antennas.
  • Never touch or go near a downed power line.
  • Don't touch anything that may be touching a downed power line.
  • Keep children and pets away.

Power Line Hazards and Cars

If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle. This is the safest place to stay. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call North Central Electric Cooperative and emergency services.

The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches fire. Open the door. Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock. Instead, jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away, with both feet on the ground.

As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by dialing 911 or call North Central Electric Cooperative.

Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.

Electrical Safety and Generators

Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits

When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical generator, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.

If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities. The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.

When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator. This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeeding electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers in neighboring building from possible electrocution. If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the "off" position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid, and energize power lines or electrical systems in other building to or near their original voltage without knowledge of utility or other workers.

Effects of Backfeed

The problem with backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk of electrical energy workers. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following safety guidelines can reduce this risk.

Other Generator Hazards

Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas.