Power Outage Guide
KUB is proud to provide reliable electric service to its customers and works hard each day to maintain and improve that reliability. But power outages are not completely avoidable and are caused by a variety of things from squirrels to car accidents. If you are experiencing a power outage, click here to report it and learn about KUB's restoration process.
The leading cause of power outages is vegetation. KUB prunes trees and other vegetation along approximately 1,000 miles of electric lines each year for improved reliability through its Vegetation Management Program. KUB's Century II infrastructure management program also works for reliability through regular replacement of aging infrastructure.
When an outage occurs, KUB responds to the areas affected with a defined restoration philosophy that focuses on restoring power to the largest amount of customers first. In tandem, KUB works to restore power to critical facilities such as hospitals and communication systems for emergency notifications. You can watch progress on any outage event by viewing our outage map where we use a color coded system of dots to represent numbers of customers impacted by outage event. The video below consists of screenshots from an actual storm and shows that outages impacting the most customers are restored first. Note that the larger dots are addressed first.
More details about how to prepare for and react to a power outages are outlined below.
Report an Outage
To report an outage or get a status update on outages in your area, click here to visit the Outage Center.
Outages: Before, During, & After
Before an outage
KUB prepares for outages caused by storms with its Vegetation Management program and monitoring of weather to ensure extra crews are ready when needed.
Below are some ways you can prepare for an outage.
- Keep emergency supplies on hand such as batteries, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, nonperishable food items, bottled water, and a charged cell phone.
- Purchase small coolers to keep on hand in case you need to repack your food during a long outage. Know where you can purchase dry ice or block ice. Keep frozen ice packs ready to help maintain your appliances’ temperatures.
- Group foods together in the freezer, as this help the food stay colder, longer in the event of an outage.
- The Red Cross suggests including a supply of your necessary medications.
- Keep your KUB account information up-to-date, such as your phone number and e-mail address. A correct phone number will allow you to use the automated system to report your outage and check its status. You can update your contact information by logging into your account and choosing Manage Account. For additional tips, review our Power Outage Reference Guide.
- Have a plan for what you'd do in the rare event of a multi-day power outage. This may include getting a hotel room, or staying with friends or family.
- Have and know how to safely operate a portable generator. Be sure to follow the instructions in your owners manual, as well as these tips:
- Generators should be installed and inspected by licensed electricians. Improperly installed generators can be a safety hazard to utility workers as well as to homeowners.
- Never connect the generator to your home's main wiring circuit. Disconnect your home from the power system before hooking up a generator. If you don't, electricity may flow backward into the power lines, endangering you, your neighbors, and the linemen who are working to restore power.
- Locate the generator outside your home. Gasoline-powered generators can produce deadly carbon monoxide.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Use extension cords if necessary, but do not exceed the recommended wattage noted on the generator.
During an outage
Report a power outage here or by calling 1-800-250-8068 or 865-254-2911. If you see a downed power line, do not approach it. Note the location, and call KUB.
Below are some things to keep in mind for power outage situations.
Supplies: Use your prepared supply kit. Locate a flashlight if it's dark.
Electric Appliances: Turn off all appliances that were on at the time of the outage, especially heat pumps, air conditioners, and electric heating. This will prevent an overload on the system when the power comes back on. Leave a light on so you'll know when service is back. Remember to turn the systems back on when the power is restored.
Refrigerator/Freezer: The information below is intended as guidelines to follow during power outages. Please consult your appliance owner’s manuals for more information on the maintenance and operation of your refrigerator or freezer. For more detailed information on food safety, click here.
- Place an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. This will make it easier to determine if they have reached critical temperatures during a power outage (40°F for a refrigerator and 0°F for a freezer).
- Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer unnecessarily. If you must open them, plan ahead to grab what you need as quickly as possible. Keeping the doors closed will help keep the food colder, longer. A refrigerator can keep its temperature for 4 hours, and a full freezer for 48 hours (24 hours for half full), if you keep the doors closed.
- If the power will be out for more than 4 hours, you can repack your food into smaller coolers with plenty of ice. Frozen food in a smaller, tightly packed space will stay colder, longer.
For more information on food safety guidelines during a power outage, click here.
During a storm, KUB is closely monitoring outages and preparing storm reponse crews as necessary.
After a storm has passed and conditions are safe, KUB crews begin to work to restore power to customers. During a typical outage, KUB uses the following sequence to determine the order of restoration:
- Critical system loads that include communications systems, water/wastewater pump stations, hospitals, and other services vital to public welfare.
- Transmission lines (the backbone of the electric system) serving larger numbers of customers.
- Substation equipment that can impact large numbers as well.
- Distribution lines serving subdivisions, large housing areas, and commercial areas.
- Service lines and transformers that serve small numbers of customers.
- Service lines and transformers serving individual customers.
Damage Assessment: You may see a Damage Assessor (DA) before you see a crew. DAs patrol the system ahead of repair crews. They determine what materials and resources will be needed to make each repair. That helps crews restore power more quickly, because the material can be ready for them when they arrive. DA's trucks will be clearly marked, and they will often use flashing and/or hazard lights and spotlights. The trucks may proceed slowly and stop frequently to inspect damage and collect important information about downed utility lines, poles, transformers, and related equipment. Please proceed with caution when driving near Damage Assessor trucks. You may also see these trucks come to your area and leave because the the DA's have assessed the damage and relayed what will be necessary to repair the system back to KUB System Operations, which will then dispatch the appropriate crews and equipment.
Learn more about KUB's outage restoration process here.
After an Outage
Once your power is restored, turn back on any appliances that you turned off during the outage. If you placed frozen food in a cooler, remember to move it back to the freezer.
When service damage occurs, it's important to understand who is responsible for the repair. Click here for information on who is responsible for tree work when the electric service line is damaged. If your electric service line or equipment is damaged at the connection to your home, click here.
After an outage event, KUB conducts debrief sessions with staff members to collect ideas for improvement. A list of action items and initiatives are created as part of KUB's Corrective and Preventative Action Program.