California residents recently underwent massive blackouts due to PG&E’s decision to shut down power in hopes to decrease the wildfire risk. Hundreds of thousands were left without power for days. However, Fremont, CA installed “a microgrid, a small, self-contained electrical system, around a fire station”. Using solar panels, batteries and a generator, they can operate independently and focus on public safety. These microgrids are better for the environment, save customers money on energy bills, and provide safety nets for many that require electricity. The CA Public Utility Commission is exploring similar projects to see how these technologies could be implemented, especially for blackout situations.
Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include Guaranteed SavingsTM, ManagedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM Index, Fixed and PriceAssuranceTM.
Realgy owns and operates 7 solar plants in Illinois and is looking to invest in additional locations.
Food in the refrigerator will be safe for up to 4 hours without power. Any longer than that and perishables such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and any leftovers should be discarded. Along with the perishables, toss anything that has been above 40 degrees for over 2 hours, according to federal food safety guidelines.
Freezers will stay cold for up to 48 hours if it is full and 24 hours if half full (just another reason to get that extra ice cream!) As long as the temperature does not go above 40 degrees for more than two hours food should be useable; even partially thawed food can be refrozen.
The key things to keep in mind:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer closed – each time you open the door precious cold air is lost.
- NEVER taste food to tell if it is still good – it is safer to just toss it.
- Discard anything that has come in contact with raw meat or its juices.
- 40 degrees is the magic number – if it is 40 degrees discard it.
Here are 10 power outage tips from Realgy Energy Services to help you prepare for the next time the lights go out.
1. If you lose power, report the outage to your local utility
Many utility’s now have mobile apps that you can use to report your outage.
2. Stay away from downed power lines and call 911 to report them
Always assume electric lines are live and treat them with caution and respect. Even low-voltage electric lines and cords can be hazardous if damaged or improperly handled.
3. Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings before the storm hits
Be sure to return the settings to their normal position as soon as electricity has been restored.
4. Get extra ice to help maintain the temperatures in your freezer and refrigerator during the outage
Use plastic bags filled with ice (or water, if you have enough time to freeze it) in the freezer. Use block ice, if possible, in the refrigerator. And should the ice melt, you can drink the water.
5. Set aside water
Sanitize and fill spare containers with water for drinking. Fill your bathtub with water for use in the toilet. A bucket of water poured in the toilet bowl is all that’s needed for flushing.
6. Be prepared to cook outside
It is possible that your stove will not work, so you may wish to use your backyard grill for cooking. Do not use your grill indoors, without proper ventilation it can be deadly.
7. Stock up on batteries and easy-to-prepare food
Don’t forget flashlights (one for each person in your family), batteries and a manual can opener.
8. Unplug sensitive equipment
Voltage irregularities can occur for any number of reasons during or after a storm, especially if there has been damage on or near your home. Unplug any sensitive electrical devices such as your television, DVD Player, stereo, microwave, computer, iPod, answering machine, and garage door opener to name just a few.
9. Fill your car’s gas tank
It is important to fill your tank before a storm, since gas stations may not be operating during an outage.
10. Prepare a “lights out” kit
Your kit should contain a flashlight, battery-operated radio, fresh water, prescription medicine, prepared foods and any other items you may need when the lights go out. It’s also a good idea to have some extra cash on hand and to fully charge your mobile phone.
Before the power goes out again make sure you are prepared!
American Red Cross, Power Outage Checklist