Outage FAQ

To Report an Outage

Outage Frequently Asked Questions

How does United Power manage calls during a widespread power outage?

During widespread outage situations, United Power will activate our automated outage reporting system. This system takes member calls and routes them to our automated outage tracking system. The automated system enables United Power to receive and forward outage information to service crews more quickly than a manual call system and frees up our dispatch clerks so they can assist and monitor our crews so they can safely restore your power.

Does United Power know I have lost electric service?

United Power monitors our electric system and often knows about outages on distribution circuits, power lines and substations, but we do not always know about outages impacting just a few members. To ensure we are aware of your outage, please call United Power at 303-637-1350, or login to SmartHub to report your outage. Please do not assume that someone else has reported your outage. By letting us know when you experience an outage, you help our crews restore your service more quickly.

What can I do to help get my power back on?

Before calling to report an outage, check your home’s breaker panel (and any outdoor disconnects) to make sure the outage is not due to a tripped breaker. Check to see if your neighbors are also out of power. This will help you determine if the problem exists within your home, or on United Power’s system. If you determine the problem is outside your home, report your outage to United Power. You will need the following information available when you call: account number or phone number on the account and any details related to the outage. Please let us know if you heard a loud bang, saw damaged equipment or if your neighbors have power, but you do not.

How do you decide whose power to restore first?

The outage restoration process begins at the point where power feeds into United Power’s system. This could be at a substation, transmission line or a main distribution line. After these repairs have been made, crews work on remaining outages and correct the trouble, beginning with areas serving the greatest number of members and continuing until electricity is restored to each member’s home.

Why would a United Power crew pass by without restoring the power at my house?

If you see a United Power service crew passing but not stopping, it is because work must first be performed at a nearby location or device before electric service can be restored to your home. Following the outage restoration process ensures all members have their power restored as quickly and safely as possible.

Why does my neighbor have power and I do not?

It depends upon the cause of the outage. Remember to check and make sure your power is not out because of an electrical problem inside your home, such as a tripped breaker. If your neighbor has electricity and you do not, more than likely, they receive their electricity from a different power line or substation.

What about members with special medical needs?

United Power maintains a list of members who have medical equipment that requires electricity. United Power will give members with special medical needs priority in the restoration of their electric service whenever it is reasonably possible to do so.

It is important to remember that extensive damage to our electric system could take numerous hours, or even several days, to completely repair. Members who must have electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan. The plan could include arrangements to move to an alternative location, use of a portable generator and/or installation of a battery backup on important electrical devices.

Why can’t you tell me how long it will take to restore my power?

Each outage is a result of different circumstances, and some may take longer to identify and restore than others. As a result, outage restoration information may not be immediately available. In some sectors of our service territory, lineman must physically walk through remote mountain territory to investigate the cause of an outage, which can be time consuming. In other instances, system operators are able to quickly re-route power without dispatching crews to the field. United Power provides updates on the status of large outage on our website and via a recorded message on our automated outage phone system and updates them with new information as it becomes available.

What should I do if a power line falls in my yard?

Consider all fallen wires to be energized, regardless of whether or not they appear to be safe. Report the fallen power line to United Power immediately. Make sure your children, pets and neighbors stay away from the power line and any objects it may be touching.

How should I prepare for outages?

United Power recommends having an emergency kit on hand so you are ready for any emergency. Include items like a portable radio, batteries, corded phone and a flashlight. Store this kit in a designated place so it is easy to find.   How do I protect appliances in my house? A lighting strike or downed power line can send a surge of electricity through your home, potentially damaging appliances. Computers, TV’s and other electronic equipment are expensive investments that are worthy of protecting from storm-related damage. Surge protectors provide a defense against power spikes and surges.

If power goes out, do I need to throw out all the food in my refrigerator and freezer?

To minimize the loss of food during a power outage, limit the number of times you open your refrigerator or freezer door. If the doors remain closed, refrigerated food can remain safely cold for about four hours; frozen food can remain safe for two days if the freezer is full and the doors remain closed. Learn more about food safety in a power outage by viewing the American Red Cross’s Food Safety web page.

Is a generator safe to use when I lose power?

A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, especially if you have special medical needs and require electricity. But, it can also be extremely dangerous if used improperly.   Be aware that it’s against the law, and a violation of electrical codes, to connect a generator to your home’s electrical circuits without a generator transfer switch automatic-interrupt device. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping to restore power in your area. Read more generator safety tips here.

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