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Winter Outages

Anticipate Possible Service Interruptions

High winds, heavy snow and icy conditions can result in downed power lines or vehicle collisions with utility poles that may lead to temporary service outages for some Delmarva Power customers.

Staying Comfortable and Safe

  • Gather in a central room where you have alternative heat. At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.
  • Dress in loose layers.
  • If the indoor temperature drops to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or below, open your faucets slightly so they constantly drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If candles and heaters are used: never leave them unattended, and watch children and pets who could knock them over.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, which can increase loss of body heat and increase the risk of hypothermia. Do not hesitate to contact a physician if you have a health-related question.

Heating Safety

  • A fuel-burning heater, such as a kerosene heater, requires proper ventilation to prevent buildup of harmful fumes. Place heaters on a hard, noncombustible surface.
  • Never leave children or pets alone with a portable heater in use.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start or quicken a fire. Always keep a screen around an open flame and don't close the damper while ashes are still hot.
  • Never use a gas range for room heating.
  • Never use charcoal as an indoor heating or cooking source.

Clear Snow from Outdoor Vents

Delmarva Power urges customers to clear snow away from appliance vents located outside their residences. This will help ensure the proper operation of heaters, water heaters, natural gas fireplaces, clothes dryers and gas and electric meters.

Snow accumulation could potentially hamper the proper and safe operation of direct-vent appliances that expel products of combustion (such as carbon monoxide) to the outdoors. Many modern homes have high-efficiency heaters and water heaters with exterior vents placed only 12 inches above the ground. All vented appliances require an uninterrupted supply of fresh air and a clear exhaust path in order to work properly and safely. Blowing and drifting snow can block the intake and exhaust vents, forcing appliances to automatically shut down and possibly causing serious damage.

Most appliances have automatic shut-offs that may indicate a problem with the venting system. If you are experiencing problems with direct-vent equipment or appliances, check to be sure exhaust vents are clear.

Use Caution During Snow Removal

Before you begin snow removal, Delmarva Power recommends that you carefully clear any accumulated snow from gas and electric facilities, propane and oil tank storage areas, and other phone, cable or utility facilities. Examples of equipment that should be cleared and marked include: meters, valves, regulators, piping and other facilities above ground that could possibly be hit by mechanized equipment or hand-shoveling. These areas should also be clearly marked to alert snow removal operators of their location.

As an added precaution, any snow surrounding fire hydrants or fire-fighting equipment should also be cleared and identified.