Electrical power outages are uncommon, but they do happen. They tend to happen in early winter when the first rains and winds overload trees and knock them onto power lines and on the hottest summer days when power transformers overheat due to high air conditioner loads and the already high ambient air temperature. Vehicle accidents, lightning, and squirrels are additional causes.
This is a page to help residents know how to prepare for possible power outages, alert them to sources of information, including phone numbers, during a power outage, and what you should do when your power comes back on.
Before a Power Outage: Emergency Preparedness
- It is a good idea to keep an emergency kit handy with water, flashlights, candles, matches, blankets and a battery-operated radio. Remember to stock up on batteries. Battery operated candles are available.
- A battery backup (UPS) can protect your electronics (especially desktop computers) from during short term outages and surges.
- Charge all cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Fill car gas tanks.
- Do laundry, wash dishes.
- Buy/make ice. Invest in an ice chest to store foods.
- Have non-perishable food on hand; PB&J, for example, goes a long way. Stock up on canned food, dried foods, and keep water on hand for drinking and rehydration of food. For a really serious storm, it is also good to have water bottles.
- Fruits such as bananas and oranges can last some time without refrigeration.
- Remember juice boxes, dried fruit, and snack items such as cereal bars or granola bars.
- You also need water to brush your teeth. If the power fails the municipal water supply could stop chlorinating the water and it could be contaminated. Brushing your teeth with contaminated water could lead to diarrhea.
- Stock up on paper plates, cups, and utensils.
- Gas operated stoves can function without electricity. Review the manual and learn how to operate it safely in the event of a power failure.
- Have a first aid kit on hand. Keep anti-diarrheal medications on hand.
- Keep your prescription medications well stocked and on hand in case pharmacies are closed and you are out of supply for an extended period of time.
- Stock up on birth control of various types: pills, prophylactics, etc.
During a Power Outage
To report a downed powerline or other dangerous situation, call (530) 666-8920.
- Yolo County has an official situation website for updates.
- If power is out due to a rain storm, there is a levee and waterway map that tracks potential and current flooding.
- The City of Davis has a web page with information, and a hotline open at (530) 747-5400 (or weekdays: 757-5686).
- PG&E Outage Map http://www.pge.com/myhome/customerservice/energystatus/outagemap/index.shtml PG&E outage reports and updates 1-800-743-5002
When you get your power back:
Check your refrigerators and freezers. Food keeps in the freezer MUCH longer than in the refrigerator. If your power has been out for an extended amount of time, it's very likely that your food has spoiled, or will spoil. For safety's sake, it is highly advised to chuck out most of your food. If you remembered not to open up your freezer at all, and if you had a lot of frozen items, that food may be OK (ours was still frozen solid after 30 hrs). If you were out of town or away from your home during this power outage, keep in mind that your power may have been off for some time and it is possible that food in your refrigerator/freezer defrosted and spoiled, but has since re-frozen with the restoration of power. Such food may not be safe to eat. It is advisable to ask a neighbor how long (if at all) the power was out at your specific location. If in doubt, be safe: throw it out.
The following is information about food safety after power outages from the American Red Cross. A summarized version appears at the end of the following Davis Enterprise news article about the after effects of the storm.
Past Power Outages
- January 5th 2008 Storm
- Pretty massive power outage in West Davis that started around 8 knocked out power in the WestLake shopping area and all surrounding homes. Encompassed Russell-to-Westernesse along Arlington Blvd.
2009-10-14 18:20:09 I rather enjoy power outages, it's nice to be able to the see the stars in town —StevenDaubert
2009-10-15 15:17:13 It is rather hard to see the stars through the clouds though. I do however enjoy myself a power outage now and again. Lighting the house with candles and huddling under a blanket with only the videos I have saved on my laptop... It's nice to get back to the old timey days. —MasonMurray
2009-10-15 17:05:23 Back in the 1800's, before electricity became available, it was surprisingly common for people's houses to burn down, set on fire by the oil fueled backlights of the displays on their difference engines. Nothing could be heard except the call of the occasional insomniac cow and the videos on their 2 ton laptops. —IDoNotExist
2011-09-06 13:52:02 How widespread is the current outage? Been off since sometime after 12 on Arthur. PG&E site/number has minimal information. Yolo county website above is dead link. —MeggoWaffle
2014-02-10 22:32:54 Power outage right now in West Davis (Village Homes) off and on since noon today — and now it's out again! —Chamoudah *Noon Monday through 1AM Tuesday, then again 1PM Tuesday through 5 Tuesday...and back off at 6:45 Tuesday. I met power-outage sufferers at North Safeway buying ice for fridges.—JudithTruman
2014-09-02 09:21:55 There was a power outage in our block just now (J Street), from approx. 7.45-9.20 AM. —ConstantiaOomen