When Power Goes Out

MGE's outage map depicts situations where problems with equipment or power lines are affecting customers in our electric service area. We rely on our customers to notify us when an outage occurs.

When Power Goes Out

Most power outages are caused by storms or accidents. Although these forces are beyond our control, we know you rely on electricity, so we're ready to respond quickly and safely.

When your power is out

  • See if your neighbors' power is out. If it is not, check your fuses or circuit breakers. If it is, look out your windows for anything unusual like fallen wires or tree limbs on a line. Always stay away from any downed wires.
  • Call MGE at (608) 252-7111 or 1-800-245-1123 to report the situation at your home or business. MGE depends on customers calling us when their power goes out to help us most quickly identify and fix the cause. We can only restore electric service for MGE electric customers. If you receive electric service from a different company, MGE will be unable to help you.
  • Minimize potential for further impact. Unplug sensitive electronic equipment and turn off light switches to help prevent overloads when power is restored. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
  • Use a battery-powered computer or radio for news updates.
  • If your power remains out after your neighbor has lights, call MGE.

Winter outages

Depending on the outside temperatures, a well-insulated home will remain safely warm for several hours once the power goes out.

  • Stay more comfortable by dressing in layers. Add a hat, extra socks and mittens to keep your extremities warm.
  • Close off unneeded spaces to conserve heat and encourage all family members to stay in the same room. Limit the number of times you open and close exterior doors.
  • Check on neighbors and friends, especially the elderly and those with health concerns.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks so pipes along outside walls won't freeze. If the outage becomes prolonged and you are on a municipal water system, turn the water on in a small stream to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Do not use your stove, oven or unvented heating devices to heat your home. They can produce carbon monoxide—a colorless, odorless gas—that can kill you. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide also can be produced from improperly vented furnaces, plugged or cracked chimneys, water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, stoves and vehicle tail pipes.
  • Move your family to an area where the power is on and you can stay warm if the outage is prolonged and travel is possible. Be sure to make accommodations for pets.
  • Clear ice and snow away from your gas meter and from furnace and water heater vent pipes. Obstructions may prohibit your equipment from starting when the power is restored.

Health and hypothermia

During an extended outage, you may be at a higher risk for developing hypothermia. This means your body temperature has been lowered from being exposed to the cold. You may be at special risk if you are 65 or older or if you have a medical condition that requires specific temperature settings. Check with your doctor.

  • Bundle up and wear several layers of loose, dry clothing. Loose clothing is best because it traps more warm air around your body. If your hands and feet are cold, put on a hat and warm socks.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they are staying warm. Hypothermia may cause confusion. This often prevents people from recognizing the danger and seeking help.

Food preservation

During a lengthy outage, you should take extra precautions to preserve food in your refrigerator and freezer. MGE is not responsible for any loss of food you might experience. Here are some basic tips for keeping food safe:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
    • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
    • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
    • Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot fully-stocked freezer cold for two days.
  • If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while it is still at safe temperatures, it's important that each item is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present is destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40°F for two hours or more—discard it.

Once power is restored

You'll need to determine the safety of your food. Here's how:

  • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

Keep in mind that perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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