Power outages are not uncommon in Calgary for many reasons, but most commonly they occur because of the weather. Lightning, high winds, and snow and ice are all usual causes of power outages. In Alberta, there is an average of 400,000 lightning strikes each summer, meaning it is actually a major hazard in the province, and not just for knocking out the lights. Lightning also causes fire, power surges, property damage, and major injuries.
Lightning, high winds, and snow and ice are responsible for power outages because they can damage the equipment bringing electricity to your home or business. Animals coming into contact with a wire are also the usual suspects when it comes to the cause of a power outage. Remember that trees should always be kept well- trimmed and away from power lines.
Occasionally, electricity providers such as ENMAX schedule power outages to perform routine maintenance or for construction purposes. ENMAX will also notify business and homeowners of scheduled outages so they may plan accordingly. For both planned and unplanned power outages, ENMAX provides a current outages map with real-time information of outages in the area. You can also easily report outages to assist ENMAX in servicing areas.
If You’re Suddenly in the Dark
- Unplug appliances and electronics. When the power supply is returned to your home or business there will be a surge that can damage computers, stereos, entertainment centres, and kitchen and laundry appliances.
- Turn off switches and lamps to also protect them from surges. Leave one light on however, so that you know when the lights come back on.
- Don’t open and close refrigerators and freezers, as this will cause them to warm up much faster. Leave them shut to seal in the coolness as long as possible. Refrigerators will keep food cool for about four hours, and a full freezer should stay cold for up to 48 hours.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for updates on the situation.
Home emergency kits are an essential part of any household and can come in very handy during a power outage.
The Government of Canada suggests the following items for a home emergency kit:
- Bottled water
- Canned food or food that will not spoil (be sure to replace regularly)
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Matches or a lighter
- First Aid Kit
- Copies of important family documents
Don’t panic if the lights suddenly just go out. Remember that power outages rarely last very long. They can actually be a fun time to gather with your family without the constant distraction of electronics and cell phones to talk or play a game.
Can Home Insurance Help After a Power Outage?
Insurance coverage for power outages may be contingent on whether the outage started at your home on is widespread. Some plans exclude widespread power outages from their policies. In addition, outages may have to be because of named perils in your policy, such as a wind storm. But if the power outage was caused by a flood, without flood insurance you will be unable to make a claim.
Home insurance can help after a power outage, but only minimally. You may be able to make a claim for loss of food. We all know how expensive food is these days, so losing a freezer full of dinners is a major blow for many. Whether or not your home insurance will include this loss is dependent upon your plan and your provider, so if you are in question, give your insurance company a call to be sure.
If your insurance does cover for food spoilage, ensure to check what the reimbursement amount is. Often these amounts are on the low end. Since you will have to pay a deductible in order to file your claim, it may not make financial sense to do so unless the food lost was high in value. In addition, if you have made a home insurance claim in the last ten years, making another one will certainly result in another hike to your premiums, and may even result in your policy being cancelled.
If you are going to file a claim for loss of food after a power outage, taking pictures of the spoiled food may assist in its processing.
Power Outage Insurance for Restaurant Owners
For restaurant owners, a power outage can be devastating. Insurance specific to restaurant owners can be of great assistance after losing power. Power outages, floods and fires can result in huge losses, as food cannot be refrigerated or stored properly. Food spoilage insurance is the restaurant owner’s safeguard against this. Restaurant insurance can also come into play if there has been a loss of business due to a power outage. Restaurant owners may want to consider purchasing a generator to help mitigate against these unfortunate occurrences.
Trust Lane’s for all of Your Insurance Needs
The experienced and knowledgeable insurance brokers of Lane’s can help explain all of the ins and outs of your small home and business insurance coverage. We work for you – not the insurance companies. Just a sampling of the products we provide includes home insurance, car insurance, travel insurance, commercial auto insurance, commercial property insurance, commercial surety bonds, contract surety bonds, and contractors insurance. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Alberta offices today.