Energy & Safety

How to Prepare for Storms

Satellite photo of Hurricane FloydHurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are capable of causing complete destruction to large portions of our electric system. It takes time to clear away debris, deliver new poles, wire, transformers and other equipment, and do the actual rebuilding. Even with an all-out effort, which is what you can expect from us, some customers could be without power for days. That's why it is so important to take all necessary steps if severe weather is forecasted.
Things to Do... Before a Storm Strikes

Program your phone with our Customer Assistance number (1-877-434-4100). If your cell phone is Web-enabled, bookmark our home page:

Having emergency contact information at your fingertips will save some time and frustration if the lights go out.

Familiarize yourself with how to report a power outage.

If your power goes out during a storm, you'll need to report it immediately. Use any of our convenient methods:

  • O&R Web Site: From any computer or mobile device that has Internet access, go to to submit an online Outage Report Form.
  • O&R Mobile app: Download our mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
  • Text Messaging: Text "OUT" to 69678 (myORU) and follow the prompts.
  • 1-877-434-4100: Follow the voice prompts.

Know how to get storm recovery updates and estimated restoration times.

O&R is employing new technologies to make it easier to for you stay in touch with us and keep up to date on our storm restoration efforts and progress.

Enroll in our Life Support Equipment Program (LSE) if someone in your household depends on a life support device.

LSE customers receive important information on preparing for power problems and a special 24-hour Hotline Number to use during storms.

Learn how to manually open and close any garage door, security door or gate that is electrically operated.

Things to Do... When a Storm is Approaching

Stay up-to-date on changing weather conditions.

Know what the various weather advisories mean and when you should begin your storm preparations.

Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.

If you have a portable computer with a way to access the Internet when there's a power outage, make sure that it, too, has a full charge.

Remember, if the battery in your cell phone dies down before your power is back up, with the proper accessory, you can recharge it from your car's 12 volt power outlet.

Set refrigerator and freezer controls to coldest settings.

If there's a power outage, the food will be colder and last longer. Remember to keep the doors shut during the outage and to reset the controls when power is restored.

Fill your car's gas tank.

It could become necessary for you to evacuate and travel to a safer location. Gas stations may be without power, too.

Get cash.

ATMs and credit card readers could be out of service if power or telecommunications lines are down.

Fill your bathtub with water.

If you have well water, the electrically powered pump will not operate and you'll need the water from the tub to flush toilets. (Take necessary precautions with small children.)

Plan how you will feed your family.

Without power, it may be difficult to prepare meals at home. If outages are widespread, or travel is dangerous, restaurants may not be available. If you have an outdoor gas grill, make sure you have a sufficient fuel supply.

Plan for alternate lodging.

Without power in the winter, you may not be able to heat your house sufficiently to stay warm.

Gather these items:


Battery or hand crank-powered radio

Extra batteries

Hard-wired or fully charged cell phone – If the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.

Containers of drinking water, especially if your water comes from a well

Non-perishable food – Check freshness dates and replace if necessary.

Manual can opener

Paper plates and plastic utensils