For more information, contact:
Tina Potthoff, Media Relations Manager, at 515-281-2585
Abby Bottenfield, Media Relations Representative, at 515-281-2621
DES MOINES, Iowa – (Jan. 4, 2014) – With below zero temperatures in the forecast, MidAmerican Energy Company wants to remind its customers about winter weather safety tips and the need to be prepared in the event of an unexpected power or natural gas outage.
An emergency preparedness kit can help customers during a variety of emergency situations. Items the kit should contain include a flashlight, nonperishable foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, blankets, a battery-operated or wind-up radio and clock, and extra batteries.
Should a power outage impact a home or business, customers should check fuses or circuit breakers first, then call MidAmerican Energy at 800-799-4443 to report the outage. Customers should never assume someone else has reported a power outage. The information MidAmerican Energy collects from customers can help pinpoint the source of the outage and accelerates the restoration process.
MidAmerican Energy offers the following safety tips in the event of a power outage:
Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, never burn charcoal in your house or garage.
Always use caution and common sense when using candles and oil lamps for light. Never leave candles burning when you go to bed. Keep them away from drapes and other materials that could catch fire. Avoid placing candles on low tables where pets or children can knock them off.
If you have a standby generator, make sure it is installed safely and properly. If it is not, you risk damaging your property and endangering yourself and MidAmerican Energy line workers who may be working on power lines some distance from your home.
Never operate a portable generator inside your home or garage as it requires proper ventilation. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly. As an added precaution, ensure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed and working properly.
As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers – food will be kept cold for a longer period of time if the door is not opened.
Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm.
Place blankets and towels around windows and doors to help keep the heat inside.
Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also leave faucets dripping so water cannot freeze and crack the pipes.
If you see a downed power line, do not touch it or drive over it. If it is in contact with a vehicle you are inside, remain inside and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. If someone is in contact with a downed power line, call 911. Otherwise, call MidAmerican Energy immediately at 800-799-4443 to report it. Touching an energized electric line can cause serious injury or even death.
The following safety tips can help keep a customer’s natural gas supply uninterrupted and operating safely in the event of a snow or ice event:
Avoid plowing or piling snow against meters or gas regulators.
Use a broom rather than a shovel to clear snow from meters or gas regulators.
In a safe manner from the ground, carefully remove icicles from the section of roof or gutter above the meter. Water that drips on meters or gas regulators can freeze and cover the equipment in ice.
If a meter or gas regulator becomes encased in ice, do not try to melt or chip the ice. Call MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 for service.
For customers whose meters have not been upgraded to automated meter reading, clear a path to the meter. A clear path to the meter will help MidAmerican Energy meter readers stay safe and prevent estimated reads and inaccurate bills.
Additional information about the causes of power outages, preparing for a winter storm, and how MidAmerican Energy restores power is available by selecting the Storm Center tab on MidAmerican Energy’s website at www.midamericanenergy.com.
MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa’s largest energy company, provides electric service to 734,000 customers and natural gas service to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanenergy.com.