While winter storms often provide a beautiful, sparkling landscape, ice is hard on power lines. Restoring power after a winter storm, especially an ice storm, presents particular challenges.
- Ice storms are more widespread than other storms, which means more lines down and more broken poles.
- Snowy and icy roads hamper travel to repair sites.
- Freezing temperatures make it hard to work outside for very long.
- Electrical switches, which usually isolate circuits and prevent widespread outages, become iced over and must be manually broken loose to be activated.
- Melting brings down chunks of ice, tree limbs and other debris on IPL crews and lines.
Restoring power takes time
Please be patient. When outages occur, IPL works to safely get the power back on as soon as possible. We constantly monitor weather conditions and schedule more line-repair crews and office staff as soon as severe weather threatens. We work 24 hours a day until the power is restored and bring in crews from other utilities when necessary.
IPL encourages customers to be prepared for severe weather and outages. Listed below are some important tips to help you be ready.
Before the storm
- Create an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies, a battery-powered radio or TV, water, food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated, and other supplies. Keep an emergency kit in your car as well.
- If you have a chronic health condition requiring electric equipment, arrange now for a place to live in case of an extensive power outage at your home.
- Learn where your fuse box or circuit breaker is located and how to check for blown fuses or confirm the circuit breaker is in the "on" position.
- Stock up on water and food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated and a manual can opener.
- Have a phone with a cord on hand. Cordless phones do not work when the power is out.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in central locations of your home on every level and outside sleeping areas. Check batteries twice a year.
- Winterize your home by caulking around openings, installing storm windows and adding insulation. This will help retain heat during an outage.
- Discuss emergency plans and the location of supplies with your family before a storm occurs.
During the storm and outage
- Stay inside and avoid unnecessary travel.
- When using an alternate heat source such as a fireplace, wood stove or a portable or kerosene heater, use caution, practice fire safety and create proper ventilation. Electrical shock, carbon monoxide poisoning and fire are common dangers with these heat sources. More information on alternative heat sources.
- Do NOT connect a portable generator to your home’s wiring system without FIRST turning off your home’s main disconnect in your breaker panel or fuse box. If you connect to a portable generator, have a qualified electrician install the appropriate equipment to prevent “backfeeding." Electricity feeding back into IPL lines from portable generators can damage your home’s appliances, cause a fire, or cause injury or death to an IPL crew member.” More information on portable generators.
- Unplug appliances to protect them from power surges when the power is restored. Turn off the main breaker if you need to leave home. Leave one light on to notify you when the power comes back on.
- Stay away from downed power lines and anything that could be touching them, like trees or fencing. You may not realize a part of a tree or fence is touching a line and has become energized. Consider all electrical lines to be charged.
- If you see a downed power line, don’t call 911 unless life or property is in immediate danger. Do call IPL at 317.261.8111 right away.
- If you’re without heat, avoid opening outside doors and close off rooms not in use.
- Stay informed of storm developments by listening to a battery-powered radio, TV or weather radio.
- To help prevent water pipes from freezing, drain the pipes and wrap them with blankets or newspapers, open cabinet doors and leave faucets dripping. Catch the water for later use.