Portland, Ore. — Portland General Electric operates one of the most reliable electrical systems in the Northwest, but when winter storms blow our way, they often wreak havoc on our overhead power lines and may result in power outages. If customers do lose power, PGE offers the following tips for staying safe and comfortable:
• PGE customers should report outages at 503-464-7777 in Portland, 503-399-7717 in Salem and 1-800-544-1795 outside of the Portland area. To report an outage via a web-enabled smart phone or mobile device, customers now can visit our mobile website at PortlandGeneral.com. Customers also can register to report outages and request updates by text message.
• Electricity is invisible — downed lines don’t have to spark or smoke to carry electricity. Even if the line looks insulated (like cables or phone lines), always assume that downed wires are live and extremely dangerous. Never touch downed lines with your body or any objects. Stay as far away as you can. Be sure to keep kids and pets away too. If a power line falls across your car when you are in it, stay in it until emergency help arrives to assist you.
• Never plug a home generator into an electrical outlet. It can ruin your electrical system and start a fire. It can also feed electricity back into a power line and possibly injure or kill utility workers.
• Turn on one light inside your house along with a porch light. When these lights come on, you’ll know your power is back on, and PGE crews working in your neighborhood will have visual confirmation.
• Listen to a battery-powered radio or TV for updates on major outages.
• Keep warm by wearing loose layers of clothing to trap body heat. Wear a hat, even while sleeping. Keep moving to generate heat.
• Check on your neighbors to make sure they’re safe and warm. This is particularly important if your neighbors are elderly or disabled.
• Use safe cooking, heating and lighting practices. Never use charcoal briquettes indoors, and don’t use kerosene heaters unless you have proper ventilation. They create harmful fumes. PGE recommends against lighting your home with candles during an outage. This leads to several house fires each year.