What to do when your power goes out in winter

Power outages in the winter are often caused by ice on trees and power lines.

Power outages in the winter are often caused by ice on trees and power lines.

Severe winter weather can cause power to go out over widespread areas for an extended period of time. This frequently happens during ice storms, which cause ice to build up on trees and power lines. Its weight can cause lines and poles to fall or cause trees to fall into lines.

If you're without power in the metro Atlanta area, here's what you need to know:

How to stay as warm as possible

The University of Georgia Extension suggests the following ways to stay warm:

  • Wear extra clothing, and snuggle in bed under extra blankets to trap heat.
  • Find a safe alternative form of heat. Start a fire in the fireplace using logs, or use tightly rolled newspapers and magazines. Stack them to allow air to circulate between them. You can also use a non-electric space heater, but make sure to use it only in a well-ventilated area.

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  • Close off the room you're heating so it gets as warm as possible. If you have an open floor plan that doesn't make this possible, hang bedspreads or comforters over entryways.
  • Make sure your home is ventilated if you're using an alternative form of heat.
  • If you're using an alternative form of heat, assign one person to keep watch – especially at night – to make sure a fire doesn't start or spread.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by in case of fire.
  • Hang bedspreads, comforters or blankets over doors and windows.
  • Invest in a generator. This can be of particular help if there are older or very young family members. Make sure to operate your generator safely and according to directions. If you're using a portable generator, never operate it indoors, even if you open windows and doors. This also applies to garages, carports and basements. Deadly carbon monoxide can build up in your home, and you won't be aware of it.

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How to protect your home and belongings

  • Unplug electronics and appliances. Leave only one light on so you can tell when the power is back on. Turn off all appliances. When the power comes back on, it could cause a surge that destroys expensive electronics and appliances.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. This helps keep the cold air in and makes your food stay unspoiled longer. Plan in advance what you're getting out of the fridge or freezer, and close the door quickly when you're done. You can also help your food stay colder by partially filling plastic containers like milk jugs and placing them in the empty spaces in your fridge or freezer.
  • Cook over the fireplace or with a camp stove or grill outdoors.

How to report outages and track restoration efforts

Depending on your power company, you may have your choice of reporting the outage by phone or online. If you'd like to use an app, check the App Store or Google Play to see if your company offers this feature. You can also track restoration efforts with each company's outage map.

Central Georgia EMC

To report an outage: 770-775-7857

To track restoration efforts: outage.cgemc.com:8181

Cobb EMC

To report an outage: 770-429-2100 or reportoutage.cobbemc.com/ReportOutage/SSvcController/reportanoutage

To track restoration efforts: cobb.maps.sienatech.com

Coweta-Fayette EMC

To report an outage: 770-502-0226 or billing.utility.org/oscp/OnlineServices/FeaturesLogin/tabid/134/Default.aspx

To track restoration efforts: outage.utility.org/OMSWebMap/OMSWebMap.htm?clientKey=undefined

Georgia Power

To report an outage: 1-888-891-0938 or customerservice.southerncompany.com/Outage/Service.aspx?mnuOpco=gpc&mnuType=res

To track restoration efforts: outagemap.georgiapower.com/external/default.html

GreyStone Power Corporation

To report an outage: 1-866-GREYSTONE (1-866-473-9786) or 770-942-6576 or outageentry.com/CustomerFacingAppJQM/outage.php?clientid=GREYS&openingPage=report

To track restoration efforts: greystonepower.com/currentoutages

Habersham EMC

To report an outage: 706-754-2114, 706-865-4362, 1-800-640-6812 or habershamemc.com/content/report-outage#formtime

To track restoration efforts: outageview.habershamemc.com

Jackson EMC

To report an outage: 1-800-245-4044 or outage.jacksonemc.com

To track restoration efforts: jemc.maps.sienatech.com

Snapping Shoals EMC

To report an outage: 678-814-4961 or ssemc.smarthub.coop/Login.html#login

To track restoration efforts: ssemc.com/OutageMap.aspx

Sawnee EMC

To report an outage: 770-887-2363 or sawnee.com/content/report-outage

To track restoration efforts: sawnee.com/content/current-outages

Walton EMC

To report an outage: 770-267-2505 or outageentry.com/CustomerFacingAppJQM/outage.php?clientid=WALTON&openingPage=report

To track restoration efforts: outageentry.com/CustomerFacingAppJQM/outage.php?clientid=WALTON