Loss of Utilities
While all Utilities do their very best to maintain their services, from time to time there are events that interrupt that service.
Manitoba Hydro works to ensure you receive a reliable, continuous supply of electricity. However, in our climate, severe thunderstorms, high winds, ice storms, blizzards, or prolonged cold spells can cause an unexpected power outage. A fire, traffic accident or fallen tree can cause damage to electrical lines or equipment failures in the distribution system.
Power can be disrupted for a few moments, an hour or two, or in extreme cases such as a severe winter storm, more than a day. Although we cannot predict a power outage, it is important to be prepared and know what to do when the lights go out.
Problems with Hydro may be isolated to your home or may be widespread. Check with neighbours to see if their power is working.
Telephone usage during a power outage:
• Use a basic phone (without features such as call display, answering machine, speaker phone, etc) for communication during a power outage. A cell phone will also work if the cell tower is not damaged.
Learn how and when to turn off utilities:
• Know the location of electric and water shut-off valves.
What to do when the Hydro is off:
• Check with your neighbours to see if they have electricity.
• If your home is the only one without power, the problem could be in your residence.
• If you do not know how to change a fuse or re-set the breaker contact Manitoba Hydro or a professional electrician.
• If it is a neighbourhood power outage, unplug all appliances and computers to avoid damage from a power surge when the power is restored.
• Shut off all lights except one to signal the return of power. DO NOT leave candles unattended if using candles for light.
• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
• If water pipes are at risk of freezing, follow instructions below.
• Contact Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-624-9376.
• Turn on your battery powered radio tuned to a local station.
• Report all downed power lines by phoning 911.
What to do to stay warm in your home:
• Stay calm – your house will keep you warm for several hours.
• Conserve heat by keeping all outside and interior doors closed.
• Stay inside and dress warmly and in layers.
• Use your emergency heating source to warm one room before it gets too cold.
• Use great care with equipment that burns fuels. Many appliances generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide very quickly. Adequate fresh air must enter the area where the appliance is used. Check each appliance/manufacturer for fresh air ventilation requirements. BBQ’s, camping stoves, heaters and fuel must be used and stored outside only.
What to do to prepare for pipes freezing:
• Drain water pipes to prevent freezing and splitting the pipes:
• Shut off tap water meter,
• Open taps in house,
• Open tap in basement and drain water into pails.
• Drain the hot water tank (ensure heat source is off), hot tub, washing machine, dishwasher. Water stored in hot water tanks is safe to drink.
• Add recreation vehicle antifreeze to tank and bowl. Add a small amount of antifreeze to all sink, bathtub, shower and floor drains.
• Wrap the valve, inlet pipe and water meter with blankets or insulating material.
What to do when the Hydro is back on:
• Wait a few minutes for the power to stabilize before plugging in appliances again.
• Be sure the water heater is full of water before turning it on.
• Turn off portable heaters.
• Check food in the refrigerator and freezer for signs of spoilage. Contact Health Canada at 1-866-225-0709 or http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca for more information.
What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide in your building:
• Open all doors and windows and leave the building immediately.
• Immediately seek medical attention for those affected by phoning 911.
What to do in a water outage or shortage:
• Be prepared - keep enough bottles of water on hand for your family’s basic needs. Be sure to replace the water bottles with new ones after lengthy storage.