Power Outage Frequently Asked Questions
How does KUB prepare for storms?
The leading cause of power outages is trees – which is especially true when storms blow trees or limbs into electric lines. KUB prepares for outage events year round by pruning trees to help minimize outages while continuing to provide safe, reliable services. KUB also continuously monitors weather conditions, and when the threat of bad weather exists, takes extra precautions to ensure appropriate staffing levels are maintained to respond to any outages that may occur.
How should I prepare for a power outage?
KUB encourages all customers to be prepared for a power outage. This includes keeping supplies ready in your home for extended outages. Bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, extra medications, and extra batteries are all items recommended by the Red Cross. For a complete list of items, click here.
Additionally, ahead of the storm charge your cell phones/laptops/mobile devices. You should keep in mind places you can go should the event be severe enough to warrant changing locations. Finally, keep your contact information update for your KUB account. This will help us serve you better during a power outage.
How fast does KUB respond to outages?
Safety of customers and employees is a priority for KUB, and crews are always on standby to respond to any utility outage. In the case of a severe thunderstorm event, KUB crews may need to wait for severe weather to pass before beginning work.
There are situations that may slow restoration progress; however. During both summer and winter storms, there may be downed trees that require removal in order to reach impacted areas and begin repairs. Winter storms can be particularly challenging if ice and/or snow create hazardous travel conditions. This may slow crews down, but restoration efforts will not stop. With safety in mind, crews will always proceed with the goal of quick restoration.
During power outages, why do KUB trucks come to my neighborhood but not stop?
During an outage event, wind and weather can create hazardous working conditions for our crews. Safety is a priority and we need to make sure our crews can safely and effectively complete their repairs. When an outage occurs, KUB damage assessors will inspect the area and equipment for damage before work can begin. Damage Assessors also help KUB assign the correct resources, workers, and materials by reporting back what is needed to complete a job and restore power. This is why you may have seen KUB trucks pass through your neighborhood without stopping to work on power lines.
Why do I see KUB crews in parking lots and not working?
Our crews may park while they are waiting for their next work assignments, additional line crews to arrive, and/or information necessary to safely complete repairs. Also, crews traveling in from other areas often assemble at designated staging areas and perform safety briefings before starting their assigned project. Crews often use computers in their trucks to send status updates or information about storm damage to analysts and field personnel
My power went out, but came back on quickly, and now the digital clocks on the microwave, stove, etc. are blinking. What happened?
You experienced a momentary outage caused by a temporary short circuit, or a fault. If a tree limb blows into an electric line, for example, it causes a fault. Other causes include lightning strikes, animals (like squirrels) on lines, or vehicles hitting utility poles.
How do I report my power outage?
Report power outages quickly by keeping these numbers accessible:
Outage Reporting Line - 1-800-250-8068
Customer Service Line - 865-524-2911
You can also save these numbers in your cell phone in the event you cannot use your home phone.
Smart phone and mobile device users can also report outages. Bookmark the site address on your device, so when the power goes out, you can easily report your outage. Please do not use social media outlets to report your outage.
It’s also important to keep your customer information updated. You can do so by logging into your online account and navigating to the Manage Account section.
How do you determine who gets power restored first?
KUB cannot respond to every outage at once, so it categorizes the size of the outage and services impacted to create the most effective and efficient plan. During a typical outage, KUB will determine the order of power restoration in the following sequence:
- Critical system loads that include communications systems, water/wastewater pump stations, hospitals, and other services vital to public welfare.
- Transmission lines (the backbone of the electric system) serving larger numbers of customers.
- Substation equipment that can impact large numbers as well.
- Distribution lines serving subdivisions, large housing areas, and commercial areas.
- Service lines and transformers that serve small numbers of customers.
- Service lines and transformers serving individual customers.
Crews work 16-hour rotating shifts around the clock to restore power to all customers.
What are my responsibilities for service repair?
To ensure restorations go quickly when KUB crews arrive, customers need to be aware of their responsibilities for repairs on customer-owned equipment. Many remaining jobs, for example, may involve trees that have damaged customer-owned lines or equipment. In those cases, customers may need to make repairs before KUB crews can restore power.
Customers are responsible for clearing any trees or limbs on the service line (the line from KUB’s pole to the customer’s building). Customers should contact KUB to lower the service line (at no charge) before having the work done.
Customers who have damage to their electric service equipment must contact a qualified electrician to make repairs before KUB can reconnect their electricity. That customer-owned equipment includes the service bracket, weatherhead, service cables, and meter socket.
After they remove trees or limbs and make any necessary repairs to their equipment, customers should call KUB at 865-524-2911 or log into their account to report their outage and start KUB repairs.
How does KUB’s Vegetation Management help with storm response?
KUB can be considered to always be preparing for storms through its Vegetation Management program. KUB maintains more than 5,000 miles of overhead electric lines, and prunes vegetation along those lines every four to five years. Trees and tree limbs account for the majority of power outages during storms, and trimming these away from electric lines helps keep the number of outages down during storm events.
What if I see downed power lines or trees with power lines touching them?
Stay away from downed power lines and trees with power lines touching them. No one should go near downed lines. Trees and limbs on the ground may be in contact with energized lines and should also be avoided. If you see downed lines, note the location and call KUB immediately at 865-524-2911 .
What is Estimated Restoration Time (ERT)?
An estimated service restoration time is an estimate for which service will be restored. The ERT represents the best information available at the time. Actual restoration times may vary. Changes in weather and road conditions, as well as the extent of the damage will impact when the service is actually restored.
Why do I need to report my power outage? Doesn’t KUB already know my power is out?
If your home is equipped with an advanced meter, KUB will already know your power is out. However, not all homes are equipped with advanced meters, and the more reports we receive about an outage, the better we can identify the cause of the outage and the impact on our customers. Additionally, you may have information that may help KUB more quickly identify the problem in your area, such as being able to see a tree on the line, that you want to share with KUB.These details help us to develop a restoration plan to quickly get your power restored. For more information on Advanced Metering and Grid Modernization, click here.
To avoid disturbing customers during the night, KUB does not respond to isolated advanced meter power outage alerts between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m unless the customer calls. Instead, KUB will respond after 6 a.m. the next morning. Note: This only applies to isolated outages, not storm-related outages. If you want power restored before 6 a.m., please call KUB at 524-2911.
Why does my neighbor have power, but I do not?
Your neighbor may be on a different supply line or there may be damage to just a section of a line supplying your immediate area. The cause of the outage may be isolated to one fuse, one transformer or a group of transformers. Also, the problem may be on the service line connected to your home. If all of your surrounding neighbors’ lights are on and you are still without power, check your breaker box for a tripped circuit or blown fuse. If that does not appear to be the case, then please call us to report your outage at 1-800-250-8068 or 865-524-2911. You can also report your outage online.
Why does KUB not reimburse customers for food during an outage event?
Outages related to weather are beyond our control. KUB attempts to restore power as quickly and safely as possible and extensive damage may take several days to repair. KUB does not reimburse customers for food lost during a weather-related outage event. Customers should contact their homeowners insurance carrier to determine if their policy covers such losses.
Is there anything I can do to help prevent my food from going bad during an outage event?
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. If you keep freezer doors closed, it will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours if it is full; 24 hours if it is half full. Dry or block ice will keep a refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for an extended amount of time. For more information, visit www.fda.gov.
What should customers with medical conditions do during an outage?
KUB is concerned about the safety and well-being of all customers. It is important for all customers to have an emergency outage plan, especially those who must have electricity due to medical necessity. This is particularly important in the case of an extended outage, and should include arrangements to move to an alternate location, use a portable generator and/or installation of a battery backup.