Statement issued Monday:
Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 — Meteorologists have issued a winter storm watch for Indiana Michigan Power's (I&M) service territory Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Heavy snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches are predicted, with isolated higher amounts possible, for northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Significant ice accumulations of 1/4" to 1/2" also is possible for the Muncie area.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is making preparations now by monitoring storm conditions and working with mutual assistance partners to bring in additional crews in the event of extensive outages. I&M also ensures it has sufficient supplies and properly equipped vehicles to make the restoration process as safe and efficient as possible. In the meantime, I&M is advising customers to be prepared for the possibility of extended power outages depending on the severity of the storm. Ice in particular can be damaging to the electric system since its weight can bring trees down into power lines.
So what should customers do in the event of outages?
- First, let I&M know. Customers should call I&M's Customer Solutions Center toll-free number at 1-800-311-4634. Customers who use web-enabled mobile devices can report an outage at www.indianamichiganpower.com. If there is a widespread power outage, I&M posts information about restoration efforts on www.indianamichiganpower.com. The following are a few tips for coping with outages:
- Never touch a downed wire. Always treat this situation as dangerous. Report this condition by phone or online as soon as possible.
- Prepare an emergency kit with flashlight(s), battery-powered lamp and fresh batteries; battery-powered radio or television; water for drinking and cooking; instructions for manually opening power-operated garage doors; manual can opener.
- Minimize opening refrigerator and freezer doors. This will keep foods fresh longer.
- Disconnect (trip breakers in your electrical panel) major heating and cooling equipment circuits. In fact, leave just one or two lights switched "on" to let you know when power is restored. Once power is restored, turn on appliances gradually.
- If the temperatures dip below freezing and the power outage is projected to last overnight or longer, consider moving to a shelter or in with friends or relatives who do have electricity.
- If you leave your house, protect your water pipes from freezing by turning the water off at the main shutoff valve and opening faucets to drain the water.
- If you use a well system that depends on electricity, be sure to stockpile your water supply.