While power outages can happen any time of the year, an electric grid assessment shows that outages are becoming increasingly common across parts of the United States.
Between droughts in the western part of the country and peak demand for power in other regions, our electric grids are becoming strained as more people crank their air conditioners and fans.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) independently assesses and reports the overall reliability, adequacy, and associated risks that could impact the upcoming summer and winter seasons. NERC’s 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment warned due to “insufficient operating reserves in above-normal conditions,” the U.S. West, Midwest, Texas, Southeast, and New England are at elevated risk of energy shortfalls.Severe storms, lightning strikes, and wildfire risks to the transmission network all play roles in power outages due to bringing down and damaging power lines and transformers.
As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to prepare in the event of a power grid failure or outage.First, plan an evacuation route and find out where local shelters are located in the event you can’t stay at home. Creating an emergency preparedness kit with things like a first aid kit, medications, cash, copies of personal documents, flashlights, some non-perishable foods and bottled water is also a good idea.
Other things you can do to prepare are:
- Sign up for local alert systems and apps for text alerts
- Purchase a gas-powered generator to use outdoors
- Purchase outdoor appliances to cook with like a gas grill or solar oven
- Keep electronic devices like cell phones, tablets and laptops charged
- Stock up on batteries for flashlights
- Keep your car at least half-filled with gas
Should you lose power, keeping your refrigerator and freezer doors closed is essential to avoid food spoilage. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, and an unopened freezer for about 48 hours. You should also make sure that you unplug small appliances and electronics to help avoid damage from power surges.
If your food gets spoiled and needs to be thrown out, chances are, you can’t make an insurance claim. Be sure to check with your agent as there are some states that allow for food spoilage under homeowners policies. There may also be exceptions if the loss is due to a break in a power line on or close to your property, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
After a power outage, the American Red Cross recommends the following safety tips:
- Do not eat any previously refrigerated food that has warmed to 40 degrees or higher
- Stay at least 35 feet away from fallen power lines and anything they are touching
- Don’t go into flooded areas or use any electrical equipment or electronics that may have been submerged
While preparing your home in the event of power outages, it’s also a good idea to ensure you have the right type of coverage on your property insurance policy well in advance. Your independent agent can always review your policy with you to see how much coverage you have, your deductibles, and how potential claims would be paid. And if you’re not insured with MAPFRE yet, get a fast, free quote today!
Terms and conditions
By this offer, MAPFRE U.S.A. Corp. and its insurance affiliates (collectively, “MAPFRE”) provide you the opportunity to access home improvement contractor services provided by Sedgwick Repair Solutions (“Sedgwick”). Sedgwick is responsible for the operation and performance of any products and services associated with its home improvement contractor services.
MAPFRE has no control or influence over the design or quality of Sedgwick home improvement contractor services, including any product or the services provided by, or on behalf of, Sedgwick. MAPFRE assumes no responsibility or liability with respect to the performance or the actions of Sedgwick or its agents. If you have any questions or experience any difficulties regarding the product or any associated services, you must contact Sedgwick.
This offer (including these terms and conditions) DOES NOT change, in any way, the coverage provided by your MAPFRE home insurance policy. In the event of a home related loss, whether or not involving the products or services offered by Sedgwick, the terms and conditions of your policy will determine the availability of insurance coverage.
This offer is being provided to you as a MAPFRE insured. MAPFRE may, in its sole discretion, terminate your ability to access the benefits provided by this offer at any time, including, without limitation, upon the termination of your MAPFRE home insurance policy.