Tips for power outages

21 October 2021

What should you do when a power outage occurs? Power outages are common throughout Quebec. While they’re often caused by bad weather, high winds or heavy snow, service interruptions may also be planned by Hydro-Québec to perform work. Whether planned or not, they are often a cause for concern. Here are some tips for keeping your home and family safe in the event of a power outage.

Find out the cause

In the event of a power outage, your first reflex should be to call Hydro-Québec’s power outage line (1-800-790-2424) or check its interactive map. You can report an outage if it hasn’t been recorded yet and get more information about the current outage and service recovery times. This will help you decide what to do and whether you should evacuate your home. You can also listen to the radio for additional information.

Protect your appliances from electrical overload

To avoid electrical overloads when power returns, it’s best to unplug all electrical appliances except the refrigerator and freezer. This will limit the damage that could be caused to your electronic devices when they’re restarted. Consider turning off the lights and turning down the thermostats as well. Keep a lamp plugged in, however, so you know when the power returns. In the event of an extended power failure, turn off all power on the electrical panel.

Save your food

During outages we often check the refrigerator to see if the food in it is still cold. Try not to open the refrigerator and freezer doors too often so your food stays cold. This will help it last longer.

Stop pipes from freezing

If a power outage occurs in the winter, running the faucets and flushing the toilet regularly is recommended so the water in the pipes doesn’t freeze. If the outage is prolonged and you decide to leave the house, consider turning off the water completely by shutting off the water service line. It’s usually in the basement.

Keep warm

To reduce the risk of hypothermia, a backup heater can be used. Just make sure it’s one that can be used indoors. If you have a backup stove, you can use it to make hot drinks to warm you up. Don’t use camping stoves inside the house—choose heating systems and fuel stoves intended for indoor use. In the event of an extended winter outage, don’t hesitate to leave your home and stay with friends or family or at a hotel temporarily. You’ll be happy to be surrounded by familiar faces if the power outage drags on.