Do You Need to Report a Power Outage?

Or do electric utilities have measuring equipment that always automatically detects when a transformer goes out?

Any significant drop in load will be seen pretty quickly at the power plant. Likewise, a catastrophic failure, like a truck hitting a pole and causing a massive short will be seen as a load surge.

If you’re out in the boonies, you should report it as your neighborhood’s use or sudden non-use may be beyond the resolution of the POCO’s monitoring ability.

In an urban area, you’ll probably be the seventeenth person to call by the time you find their phone number, unless the cause of the outage is very localized, such as a failure at the transformer that serves your house and two other neighbors.

Only if other people aren’t already tweeting about it.

You certainly should report an outage if you want your power back on. They don’t always know that a house or two is still without power when they do repairs. The local utility calls back after repairs are done in the area to make sure anybody reporting power outages is back on the system.

(bolding mine)

Agreed. Besides, if yours is the only house without power, how else will the power company know that repairs are needed?

I always call … so I have no way of knowing.

During major outages in my area (South Florida) - typically after a tropical storm or hurricane - we’re told that the utility company knows when lines are down and big areas are out. The rule is if your neighbors have power and you don’t, you should call. If your neighborhood is out, don’t bother calling, because they already know and you’re in the queue.

And to add the obvious, please report routine power outages directly to the power company and not 9-1-1. If there is a true emergency that caused the power outage or that results from the power outage then call 9-1-1.

Car accident knocked down a pole or wire knocking out the power? Call 9-1-1.
You are missing Wheel of Fortune because the power is out? Call the power company.

During one particularly lengthy outage I answered a 9-1-1 call about a patient on a home oxygen concentrator machine who already had switched to the travel cylinders when the power failed. When they had to switch to the last cylinder they called 9-1-1. That is a perfectly acceptable reason to call 9-1-1.

I have the number on speed dial. We lose power at least three or four times a year. Live in a city too and its still that unreliable.

They started giving automated status updates during the week long Christmas outage. Every day a robo call assuring us they were working on the problem.

Our utility company lists known outages on their website.
Areas affected, number of homes, estimated repair time.
You need a phone or laptop to read it, but it’s useful info.

Yeah, PG&E has been getting pretty good at this too. And if you call their outages number, there’s a reasonable automated system which recognizes your address by the phone number you’re calling from, confirms that’s the address you want to report, and gives you the status on what’s probably an already known outage.

This. The utility company is often unaware of secondary problems that result from a major disruption. Also, your own house may have lost power for some reason totally unrelated to an known problem.

Do you win a prize if you’re the tenth caller?

As was already mentioned, one failure can cause other failures and the power company may not be aware of the fault for your house. There are also some types of failures that would only affect your house or maybe a couple of houses next to you as well, and those often won’t be detected by the power company’s monitoring equipment. If you call, they will at least know to check your house before they finish up the job and leave.

Around here, if you call from a land line the power company will know what address you are calling from and the entire call can be handled through their automated phone system. You even have the option of having them call you back when they think power has been restored to your house, and you can tell the automated system that it’s wrong if you don’t have power by then.

Our phones are all cordless which means that the base station doesn’t work if the power goes out, but I do keep an old phone around, partly for emergencies like this and partly just in case our fancy cordless system breaks.

yeah good to report it because it helps them get to the locations quickest to handle the problem(s). if a fuse on a transformer has blown it could just affect one or a few customers.

the outage reports on the utility website might be great if you have battery power for your modem and computer or have a browsing phone.

Power outages should be reported unless you know it is a widespread occurrence from a storm. My neighborhood recently had an outage during a minor storm but as it turned out, the interruption affected only 5 homes as a result of a squirrel shorting out our utility pole transformer. Had not one of the 5 homeowners reported the outage, my generator would still be running.

Yes if your meter is a smart meter. No if their only information source is human phone calls.

If you still have meter readers, then you do not have smart meters that would report each outage.