Planned Power Outages in Alberta

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Sometimes electricity distribution utilities will schedule a power outage in your neighbourhood. In this article we explain what is a planned power outage and how it affects you.

What is a Planned Power Outage?


Sometimes when wires services providers (electricity distribution companies) need to perform upgrades or maintenance on their system it is necessary to temporarily disconnect power in order to keep their employees safe. In these circumstances they will schedule a temporary power outage in the area that they are working on. These kinds of service interruptions are part of comprehensive planning, which is why they are called Planned Power Outages. Wires services providers will contact customers at least two days in advance to warn them of the scheduled outage. As a rule wires services providers try to schedule power outages only when necessary, and to plan them for times that are the least inconvenient to their customers.

Where Can I Find More Information About Planned Power Outages?

Your local electricity utility will provide information about all planned and unplanned outages on their website and on social media. Some wires services providers provide online maps where they mark all power outages (planned and unplanned) that they are aware of.

Did you know?
To keep up to date with planned outages in your neighbourhood, you can follow your local electric utility on Twitter: @FortisAlberta, @ATCOElectric, @EPCOR, @ENMAX

Sometimes electricity transmission companies need to interrupt service for construction and maintenance. The Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) compiles a weekly report of all of the planned transmission outages that facility owners schedule for maintenance and upgrades. This report is usually updated every Wednesday.

What Should I Do During a Scheduled Outage?

As scheduled outages usually last only a few hours, you don't need to worry too much about food safety, though you should try not to open your fridge or freezer if possible. It is a good idea to unplug appliances and electronics to protect them from power surges when your power returns. Try to make sure that your cellphone is fully charged before the scheduled outage if you can.

What if My Power Was Out and Nobody Warned Me?

In the event of an unexpected power outage, follow these steps:

  1. Find out whether the power has failed just for your house, or for your neighbourhood. It is possible that you have blown a circuit or your power was cut for another reason.
  2. Check your local electricity utility's website or Twitter for more information about the power outage. Your wires services provider is responsible for operating and maintainiing your electricity service. Do not call your energy retailer.
  3. Call your local electricity utility if you can't find any information about the outage online. You may not get through immediately, as call volumes tend to rise when there is trouble on the electric system. However, you may be able to report the outage via an automated system.
  4. Turn off and unplug any appliances that generate heat (such as computers), in order to minimise the risk of fire once power returns.
  5. Don't turn off your fridge or freezer, but only open the doors when its absolutely necessary. Your food will stay frozen for 24 to 48 hours in a full freezer if the door stays closed.

Check out more information about power outages in Alberta