Hurricane Florence Updates:
Prepare for Hurricane-Related Outages - September 10, 2018 10:15 a.m.
- Preparing for an Outage
- Restoration Policy
- Steps to Restoring Power - Learn how utilities restore service after a major disaster
- Hurricane Readiness
- SMECO 24/7 - Download our mobile app or use our text messaging service to report your outage
- Cómo prepararse para un apagón
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SMECO strives to keep the power on for every home and business in our community. But we’ve had our share of hurricanes and ice storms, and sometimes, these weather conditions can cause our customers to lose power.
Although SMECO works as quickly as possible to get the lights back on, there are some steps you can take before, during, and after an outage. The key is being prepared. Be sure to plan for these fundamental needs.
SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time.
Preparing for an Outage:
- If you plan to use a portable generator, place the generator outside, not in the house, 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.
- 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.
- If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging. Call our special needs information number: 1-866-524-9402. In addition, you can check with your local fire department, which may offer temporary shelter.
- 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.
- Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.
- 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.
- Make sure that you have a standard phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity. If you use a cell phone, an auto adapter may be needed to recharge your phone.
- 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.
- Fill up your car’s gas tank.
- Maintain a supply of cash. Credit cards and ATM machines may not work if the power is out.
- Consult a plumber or other home specialist for other steps to take in the event of a prolonged outage. These may include draining water from pipes or other recommendations particular to your home, situation, or appliances. Have instructions on hand from your heat pump manual or a contractor about how to operate your heat pump after a long-term service interruption.
During an Outage:
- Turn off all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This will prevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Then, try not to turn everything back on at once; turn on appliances gradually so the electric demand does not jump suddenly.
- Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away. Do not set dishes, towels, or paper on the stove; these may catch on fire if a burner is on when the power comes on.
- Leave the freezer and refrigerator closed so food will stay cold longer.
- Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified SMECO crews handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling 1-888-440-3311.
- Call SMECO’s Outage Hotline at 1-877-74-SMECO or 1-877-747-6326.
Reporting an Outage:
Power outages can jeopardize the safety of your food. Learn from the U.S. Department of Agriculture how to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Watch our 2-minute video on steps you can take to prepare for a power outage.
Sign Up for Text Alerts:
The College of Southern Maryland and the county governments in Southern Maryland offer alert services to keep you informed of local emergencies.
- College of Southern Maryland: CSM.TXT
- Calvert County Department of Public Safety: ALERT
- Calvert County Sheriff's Office: Nixle
- Charles County Government: Citizen Notification System (CNS)
- St. Mary's County: CodeRed for notifications of emergencies, StormReady for weather warnings
You can also sign up for SMECO 24/7 so you can text us if your power goes out.