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How to reconnect your power after a flood

March 20, 2019 | Jodi Baker | safety, tips, weather
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Omaha Public Power District knows many of our customers are facing difficulties right now after historic flooding impacted the area. We understand, because a number of our own employees are coping with their own property damage and losses, as well. Through this tough time, it’s important to remember safety, comes first.

For safety purposes, we have disconnected power to over 1,550 customers due to flooding and related issues. OPPD takes this precaution when directed by law enforcement or emergency management officials. It is for the safety of customers, others living in the area, our crews and first responders. In these cases, OPPD will not be able to turn power back on until flooding subsides.

OPPD is currently evaluating the safety of the electric equipment in flood-impacted areas of our service territory. As customers return to their homes and businesses, OPPD urges safety.

Risks in standing water

  • If you have standing water in your basement, do not enter until you make sure there are no electrical shock dangers.
  • Avoid standing water and floodwaters. They may contain chemicals that could make you sick or have downed power lines that cause electrocution. Such waters could also have sharp debris you cannot see.

Generator safety

If you plan to use generators during outages or disconnections, keep these important safety tips in mind.

  • The total electric load on your generator must not exceed the manufacturer’s rating.
  • Only connect portable generators to only smaller appliances or lamps. Never connect them directly to a building’s wiring system.
  • Keep portable generators outside during use to ensure the exhaust will vent safely. Using a generator in an enclosed area may cause a buildup of carbon monoxide or other harmful exhaust gases.
  • Use a portable gas-powered generator for powering dewatering pumps when electrical safety is in question.
  • Always wait five minutes or more for the generator to cool down prior to refueling.

Power disconnection

  • Customers who need power disconnected due to flooding should contact their local emergency management agency. See phone numbers for corresponding counties below. Please do not contact these agencies with billing questions.

UPDATED flood contacts

*Sarpy County requests that customers with no access to their homes  who would like to apply for an electrical inspection to get a permit for reconnection, visit their website to fill out a form. 

  • If OPPD cannot access a customer due to water or damage, the order to disconnect will be cancelled. If that should occur, power will remain on until OPPD is directed by the emergency management agency for that county. This is for everyone’s safety.
  • If a customer’s home is destroyed by flooding and the customer wishes to cancel service entirely, OPPD can end service as of the last meter reading.
  • Customers with questions about disconnection or billing should call OPPD customer service at 402-536-4131 or toll-free at 1-877-536-4131.

Power reconnection

When floodwaters recede, customers must follow a process before reconnecting power.

  • Customers with damaged property must obtain an inspection and permit prior to electrical service reconnection to ensure safety for all involved. This is required by local and state permitting authorities.
  • To locate where to obtain a permit in your area, visit the Nebraska Electrical Division’s city and municipal government  directory. If your local town or community is not listed, see the state electrical inspector directory for your area.
  • OPPD will not charge to re-establish service to customers displaced by flooding if they reconnect within 12 months.
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About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. Jodi earned her degree in broadcasting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She's worked for news stations from her hometown of Omaha to sunny San Diego. She’s married with two bright and energetic children (a boy and a girl) and an allergy-ridden little Cairn Terrier. She and her husband enjoy catching up on some grown-up DVR time once the kiddos are asleep.

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