In Case of Emergency

In Case of Emergency
LIPA’s Guide
to Understanding
Electric Outages and
Emergency Preparedness
Printed on Long Island using recycled paper
FC 11381
In Case of Emergency
Resources for Emergency Preparedness
Long Island Power Authority
New York State Office of Emergency Management
Nassau County Office of Emergency Management
Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management
New York City Office of Emergency Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
1-800-BE-READY (237-3239)
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
U.S. Department of Energy
1-800-DIAL DOE (342-5363)
National Weather Service
American Red Cross
LIPA maintenance programs, such as power line clearance
and state-of-the-art line monitoring, are focused on one
goal – providing you with the safe, reliable service you
expect and deserve. Our efforts have resulted in the highest
reliability ratings in New York State. Even so, Mother Nature
and events beyond our control can cause power outages.
Let us help to ensure the safety and comfort of your family.
Before There's a Power Problem, Make Sure
We Have Your Latest Contact Info
You’ll probably know you’ve lost power before we do, so we
provide multiple ways to report an outage. Whichever
method you prefer, you can stay in touch and receive timely
restoration updates:
1. Report an Outage by Text, Online or
Call 1-800-490-0075
• By Text: To register, text "REG" to myLIPA (695472).
Reporting an outage is then as easy as texting “OUT”
Learn more at
• Mobile: from your smart phone, tablet or any Internet
connected device, go to Receive
restoration updates and access our online Storm Center
anytime, anywhere
• Online: from your computer go to
• By Phone: Call 1-800-490-0075 anytime
No matter how you contact us, it’s important that we have
your current phone number in our records before there’s an
outage. It is essential for quick and accurate reporting.
You can update your contact information by phone at
1-800-490-0025 or online at
2. We'll Keep You Updated
After you report the outage, we will provide you with an estimated restoration time. When there is new information, we
will let you know by phone, text, or e-mail, depending on how
you contacted us. Since you might not stay home if your
power is out, you can provide an alternate phone number,
such as a mobile phone. Additionally, you can visit to get timely restoration
In Case of Emergency
updates through our interactive Outage Map. Please do not
report your outage more than once unless your lights stay
off when your neighbors' are back on.
3. Downed Wires
If you notice any downed electric wires call us immediately at
1-800-490-0075. Never touch or go near any downed wires,
even if you think they are safe. If you are in a car that comes
in contact with downed wires, stay in the car until help
4. Major Storms
In extreme cases, such as major storms, we may need to
conduct an extensive damage assessment before we can
provide a restoration time. We will let you know as soon as an
accurate time is available and alert you to any changes.
Plan Ahead for an Outage
A few small steps that you can take will help us help you in
the event of a power outage:
1. Update Contact Info
Make sure we have an accurate phone number for your home
or business in our records. If we don’t, you can quickly update
it using our automated system at 1-800-490-0025 or online
2. Life Support (Critical Care)
If you or a member of your household relies on life-support
equipment, file a medical certificate with us from your doctor
or local Board of Health and we will note your account and
meter as “Critical Care.” When we anticipate a severe storm,
we will call you ahead of time as a reminder to make
advanced preparations. Following a storm, priority will be given
to restoration efforts that will
get power on for the greatest
number of customers the
fastest. It is your responsibility to ensure medical
needs are taken care of in the
event of a power outage.
Critical Care enrollment
does not ensure priority
during power restoration.
Call our customer service representatives at 1-800-490-0025
to register.
The following devices meet the medical criteria for
life-support equipment:
• Apnea Monitor
• Positive Pressure Respirator
• IV Feeding Machine
• Respirator/Ventilator
• Rocking Bed Respirator
• IV Medical Infusion Machine
• Curraise Respirator
• Suction Machine
• Tank Type Respirator
• Hemodialysis Machine
• Oxygen Concentrator
3. Generators
Notify LIPA if you have a standby generator. Because it is
possible for a generator to send power into our lines, operating
a generator without our knowledge can be dangerous for you
and our field personnel if we are doing restoration work in
your area. See the Home Generators section of this brochure
for more safety details.
Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready for
a Major Storm?
Planning ahead for emergency situations will keep you and
your family comfortable and safe:
I Talk to your family about what to do in an emergency.
Have a meeting place outside the home in case your family is
separated and cannot return home.
I Have a battery-powered radio or TV available to keep
track of storm developments and LIPA’s progress in restoring
I Keep a flashlight handy for each member of your family.
Make sure the batteries are charged, and keep plenty of extras
available. Do not use candles as they can cause fires if
handled carelessly.
I Fill your bathtub with water that can be used for hygiene
in case tap water is unavailable.
For many more tips and
outage information and updates,
visit our Storm Center at
In Case of Emergency
I Keep at least three gallons of fresh water for each family
member and maintain a supply of food that does not require
refrigeration. Please remember that you'll also need a manual
can opener too.
I Place containers filled with water in the refrigerator and
freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold if
the power goes out.
I If you use a computer, back up files and operating systems
I If you have an electric garage door opener, be sure you
know where the manual release lever is located and how to
operate it in case you need your car before the power is
I Keep your car fuel tank at least half full; gas stations rely
on electricity to power their pumps.
I Remember that equipment such as automated teller
machines (ATMs) may not work during a power outage, so
have cash on hand for emergencies.
I Have a corded telephone available. Cordless phones and
telephone services such as those that use a cable modem or
fiber optics may not work when there is an outage. Make
sure you have an alternate method of contact, like a mobile
phone. Keep mobile phone batteries charged and have a car
charger handy so you can recharge your phone in your car.
I If a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast, be sure you
have a plan in case you lose power for several days or more.
I Solar PV systems will not work during an outage. Check
with the manufacturer or installer for operating instructions.
After the Storm
I When operating a portable standby generator, make sure
it is not directly connected to your home wiring. Improperly
connected generators present severe hazards to our repair
crews working on nearby electric lines and can damage
your generator. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturer's
operating instructions.
I Don’t use charcoal to cook or provide heat indoors – it
gives off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Make sure all
combustible-fuel space heaters are used with proper
ventilation, and never use your gas or propane oven as a
source of heat.
I Disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics you
were using when the power went out. Momentary spikes can
damage equipment such as computers, and motors in
appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or
heating system, when power comes back on.
I Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to
keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that
was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of
I Avoid any unnecessary travel, especially by car, as traffic
signals may stop working during an outage.
For additional information about emergency preparedness,
visit our Web site at
What Causes Power Outages?
Studies show that the top causes of power outages in our
area are:
I Storms (lightning, high winds,
ice, snow and rain)
I Trees and branches
contacting electric lines
I Accidents
(ex, a car hitting a pole)
I Equipment failure (from
corrosion, wear and aging parts)
I Animal contact with electrical
Electricity travels to your home through a sophisticated
network of power lines, which branch out from power plants
and channel the flow of electricity to homes and businesses
on Long Island. This network includes protective equipment
on our power lines that work like the circuit breakers in your
home and safely and automatically cut off power.
Automatically shutting off the power means everyone who
is fed electricity by that part of the network loses power.
Once we locate the trouble spot, we work to restore electric
service to as many customers as we can, even as repairs are
being completed.
In Case of Emergency
What is a Momentary Interruption?
A power line problem could last a fraction of a second as our
relay system automatically restarts the flow of electricity. A
split-second loss of power may be enough to affect today's
sensitive digital equipment such as computers, televisions,
and communication equipment. Clocks on microwaves, DVD
players, etc. may need to be reset because of this sensitivity.
When shopping for appliances and other electronic devices,
look for those that have a battery backup to prevent this
inconvenience. Normally these interruptions will not harm
sensitive equipment. Consider using advanced power strips
that provide surge protection while also saving energy.
How Does Weather Affect Power Lines?
Long Island is surrounded by water and has many wooded
areas. Many of our established neighborhoods have large
trees that were planted years – even decades – ago that now
envelop the power lines. Ice, wind, and heavy rain may cause
tree branches to sag or fall on LIPA wires, putting our
electric system at risk.
How Does LIPA Restore Service After a Major
When power is out to thousands of customers, it is
impossible to restore service to everyone at the same time.
The highest repair priority is given to vital public services
such as hospitals, police and fire stations, and sewage
pumping stations. We then focus on repairs that will restore
power to the most customers at once. Our restoration crews
keep going day and night until everyone's power is back on.
Why Doesn’t LIPA Put All Its Power Lines
Placing electric wires underground would reduce the total
number of outages, but at a very high cost to customers. Such
a massive project would take 30 years to complete at an
estimated cost of $33 billion. In addition, underground cables
take two to three times longer to locate and repair than
overhead wires.
What is LIPA Doing to Prevent Outages?
LIPA’s transmission and distribution system consistently
scores high in delivering reliable service to our customers.
Our goal is to continually reduce the number and length of
outages through an aggressive service improvement and
maintenance plan, which include:
I Line Clearance – Keeping tree limbs away from electric
wires is our most effective method of reducing outages. We
trim trees along 2,000 miles of lines annually. We also
encourage the planting of shorter, “wire-friendly” trees near
power lines.
I Equipment Improvements – We’re upgrading lightning
arresters, redoing wire splices on our poles using new
equipment, and installing guards to prevent animals from
contacting high-voltage connections.
I Radio-Controlled Switches – These remote controlled
switches allow us to isolate electric line problems without
dispatching a field crew, enabling our operators to restore
service faster.
I Reconductoring Wire – We’re replacing old wire with new
wire that has a resistant plastic covering for use in heavily
wooded areas.
I Infrared Scanning – Through helicopter and vehicle
surveys, we’re using infrared equipment to detect potential
trouble spots before they can cause power outages.
Approximately 6,000 miles of line are surveyed annually.
Home Generators
If you decide you need a standby generator in your home, be
sure it is installed and wired by a licensed electrician, and
make sure it meets fire underwriter regulations. Have the
installer brief you on all safety aspects of the generator’s
operation. Keep the operating instructions in a safe place,
and if a storm is predicted, review them in case you need to
activate the generator.
I Notify LIPA when you purchase a generator. If you already
have one and have not notified us, please call us at the
location closest to you:
In Case of Emergency
I A licensed electrician should install a double-throw
transfer switch, properly grounded, between the generator
and your LIPA power supply. This protects our workers and
your generator.
Nearly all of our employees turn from their regular jobs to
help restore electricity to our customers. We also bring in
workers from neighboring utilities and contractors to
supplement our crews and speed up the repair effort.
I Place the generator on stable ground.
We mobilize our entire centralized Customer Assistance
Center, which can handle thousands of calls an hour. During a
severe storm, when there are a large amount of calls coming in
at the same time, we have an automated service that can log
your outage. Please be patient while trying to reach us. Visit
our "Storm Center" at or
listen to local radio stations for regular reports on our repair
I Ask your electrician which appliances can be safely used
within the generator’s capacity.
I Plug in appliances only after the generator is on and
I Check the generator’s fuel system for leaks and keep it
clean and well maintained.
I Operate the generator only in a well-vented area, outside
your home, to prevent buildup of harmful fuel vapors and
I Never fill the generator with fuel while it is running, and
don’t store gasoline in your home.
I You will not be able to use all appliances at once. You may
have to turn off some appliances to avoid overload.
I Generators should be used for emergency standby power
ONLY and for short periods of time.
The highest repair priorities are given to vital public services
such as hospitals, police and sewage pumping stations. Next,
we schedule repair work to restore service to the largest
possible number of people at one time. This means that
a repair which will restore power to 1,000 customers takes
priority over one that would restore electricity to 100
customers. An outage that only affects a few customers has a
lower priority. Our repair efforts continue around the clock
until everyone has power once again.
Reporting an Electric Emergency
We’re Prepared
To report an electric service problem, call 1-800-490-0075 and
use our automated service.
Long before a major storm sweeps across Long Island, LIPA
is busy tracking its progress; collecting and interpreting the
vast quantity of information needed to forecast storm movement. We contract with independent research firms and the
National Weather Service for maximum accuracy.
Para Espanol? 1-800-490-0085
Keeping You Informed
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit us
online at
Preparations start several days in advance when we learn a
major storm is headed in our direction. We put our employees, equipment vendors and neighboring utilities on alert to
ensure that enough manpower and inventory is available to
handle storm-related repairs and ensure your safety.
The LIPA Restoration Team
Our entire work force is focused on service restoration if a
major storm hits. Our work force is specially trained to
respond to storm emergencies and are prepared to work
around the clock, seven days a week, to restore your service.
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