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Preparing for Severe Weather

Safety Guidelines for Thunderstorms

When thunderstorms roll across an area, they can sometimes cause temporary power outages. Delmarva Power provides the following guidelines on what to do if you lose power during a storm, plus information about how we restore electric service.

Be Prepared

Keep a storm survival kit ready in case of a power outage. Be sure that you have drinking water, fresh batteries, canned and other non-perishable foods and a non-electric can opener. Keep a battery-powered radio or television and flashlights handy. Candles and matches, while not recommended, must be used with extreme care and should never be left unattended.

Outside Your Home

Never touch downed or damaged power lines. Any power line that has fallen or is damaged should be considered "live." If you see a fallen or damaged power line, immediately call 911 or call Delmarva Power:

In New Castle County (DE) and Cecil and Harford Counties (MD:) 1-800-898-8042

In Kent and Sussex Counties (DE) and the Eastern Shore of Maryland: 1-800-898-8045

Do not attempt to move downed power lines with branches, boards, fiberglass garden tools, etc. These objects could conduct electricity, and you could be seriously injured or killed.

Inside Your Home

Turn off major appliances, especially such motor-powered appliances as air conditioning compressors, freezers, refrigerators, etc. Turning appliances off during a power outage will prevent possible damage due to circuit overload when service is restored.

Some conditions, such as lightning storms and other unpredictable voltage changes, may result in a surge of power to your home. To prevent appliances from being damaged, you can unplug them during a thunderstorm or install a surge arrestor for your entire home.

Avoid using the telephone during a storm. Lightning could hit outside and travel along the telephone wire to the receiver, causing a serious shock.

To prevent food from spoiling, avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors during an outage.

Service Restoration

Delmarva Power's first priority in all situations remains the same: the safety of the public and our employees. We begin the service restoration process by determining the extent of damage in the affected areas; this information determines where we need to start our repairs.

  1. Repairs are made first to eliminate any life-threatening conditions, such as downed wires or outages in public safety buildings and hospitals.
  2. Repairs are next made in areas that will result in restored service for the largest numbers of customers.
  3. Repairs that affect single homes are completed.

    Because we can reroute power by remote control from our system operations center, many power interruptions last only a short time. However, if trees fall across power lines or high winds or lightning damage equipment, we need to dispatch crews to those areas; this can make the service restoration process take longer.

Please remember that more than one location on a power line can be damaged. If you see our crews leaving your area before your power is restored, it may mean that another area needs repair before power can safely be restored to your area, or the crew may need more equipment to finish the repairs. If all of your neighbors' lights are on and you are still without power, please call to report your outage at the numbers listed below.

Where to Call

If you experience an outage or see downed or damaged power lines, call Delmarva Power's 24-hour emergency numbers:

In New Castle County (DE) and Cecil and Harford Counties (MD:) 1-800-898-8042

In Kent and Sussex Counties (DE) and the Eastern Shore of Maryland: 1-800-898-8045

If necessary, call 911 to alert emergency services personnel of possible injuries related to the situation.

Additional Information

Be sure to read our monthly customer newsletter, "Energy News You Can Use," for ongoing safety information.

For more information, see these brochures:

Weathering the Storm pdf
Using Your Generator Safely pdf