Outage FAQ

Q. How does REC manage calls during a widespread power outage?

A. During widespread outage situations, your cooperative's automated reporting system takes customer calls and then routes them to a trouble call analysis system. Because this automated system enables REC to receive and forward outage information to service crews more quickly than a manual call system, we can restore your power more quickly.

Q. Does REC know I have lost electric service after a storm?

A. Immediately after a storm, REC is aware of damage to distribution circuits, power lines and substations. However, to ensure we are also aware of your outage, please call your Cooperative anytime your power is out at 1-800-552-3904. Please do not assume that others have reported the outage. By calling any time you experience an outage, you help our crews respond more efficiently and restore your service more quickly. To automatically alert us to an outage whenever you are not at home to report it, REC offers an Individual Outage Notification service.

Q. What can I do to help get my power back on?

A. 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. Call your neighbors to see if their power is off. This will help you determine if the problem exists within your home, or on REC lines. If you determine the problem is outside your home, call your cooperative to report your outage. Please have the following information available when you call: account name, street address, home phone and, if you know it, the cause of the outage.

Q. How do you decide whose power to restore first?

A. The outage restoration process begins at the point where the power feeds into REC'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 customers and continuing until electricity is restored to each customer's home.

Q. Why would an REC service crew pass by without restoring the power at my house?

A. If you see an REC service crew passing but not stopping, it is because work must first be performed at a nearby location before electric service can be restored to you and your neighbors. Following the outage restoration process ensures all customers have their power restored as quickly and safely as possible.

Q. Why does my neighbor have power and I do not?

A. It depends upon the cause of the outage. Remember to check and make sure your power is not out because of an electrical problem inside your home, such as a tripped breaker. If your neighbor has electricity and you do not, more than likely, they receive their electricity from a different power line or are located on a different circuit than the circuit your home is on.

Q. What about customers with special medical needs?

A. Your cooperative maintains a list of customers who have medical equipment that requires electricity. Known as Serious Medical Condition, this program allows REC to give customers with special medical needs priority in the restoration of their electric service, whenever it is reasonably possible to do so. Following severe thunder, wind, snow or ice storms, it's important to remember damage to REC's distribution system may be extreme. In that case, it could take numerous hours, or even several days, to complete repairs. In case of severe storms, customers who must have electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan. The plan could include arrangements to move to an alternative location, use of a portable generator and/or installation of a battery backup on important electrical devices.

Q. Why can't you tell me how long it will take to restore my power?

A. Each outage is a result of different circumstances, and some may take longer to identify and restore than others. As a result, during storm-related outages restoration information may not be immediately available.

Q. What should I do if a power line falls in my yard?

A. Consider all fallen wires to be energized, regardless of whether or not they appear to be safe. Report the fallen power line to your cooperative immediately. Make sure your children, pets and neighbors stay away from the power line and any objects it may be touching.

Q. How should I prepare for outages?

A. REC suggests creating an outage preparation kit that includes a portable radio, batteries, corded phone and a flashlight. Store this kit in a designated place so it is easy to find.

Q. How can I protect against appliance or electronics damage?

A. Unplug appliances with electronic components, such as microwaves, televisions and computers. This will help to eliminate damage to your appliances from voltage surges when the electricity is restored. If you experience an electrical surge in your home, REC offers an electronics protection program for $5.95 per month that helps address failures caused by surges. The SurgeAssist program covers surge-related issues that affect most home electronics and appliances, including refrigerators, HVAC, well pumps, TVs, microwaves, computers, washers, dryers, stoves, and wall ovens. Learn more about SurgeAssist.

Q. If power goes out, do I need to throw out all the food in my refrigerator and freezer?

A. Food in your refrigerator will remain safe as long as power is out for no more than four hours. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40 degrees for more than two hours. Learn more about food safety in a power outage by viewing the American Red Cross's Food Safety web page.

Q. Is a generator safe to use when I lose power?

A. A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, especially in helping keep the frozen food in your refrigerator cool. 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.

Q. What is a supplier outage?

A. Some situations can arise causing REC to lose service from the supplier of its electricity. When this occurs in your area, REC customers lose service because the electricity supplied to the cooperative's lines is interrupted at its source. Although not a direct result of damage to REC's lines, this situation still causes an outage. REC works closely with the supplier of its power to minimize these occurrences.
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