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NOVEC urges customers to prepare for possible power outages as snow approaches

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative urges customers to prepare for possible power outages that snow may cause on Wednesday night, Feb. 12, 2014, and Thursday.

“If weather forecasters are correct, we’ll get anywhere from four to 12 inches of snow in the six counties NOVEC serves,” says Larry Shaffer, vice president of system operations. “If snow-ladened trees and branches fall on power lines, we’ll no doubt have some power outages.

“We’re preparing for power outages by bringing in extra crews from Kentucky, fueling all utility trucks and putting chains on the tires, and staging crews throughout our service territory. We’re also urging customers to prepare for possible power outages.”
Prepare for power outages

Customers can check to make sure NOVEC has their current phone numbers by calling 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500. Accurate phone numbers expedite outage reporting and power restoration.
Charge cellphones. Cordless phones don’t work when power is out.
Designate the safest shelter location.
Develop a plan for elderly or disabled family members.
Have an emergency kit with non-perishable food, manual can opener, water, flashlights, battery-operated radio, fresh batteries, lanterns, canned fuel, matches, and first aid. If applicable, have enough prescription drugs, pet food, and baby-care items.
Stock up on firewood for a wood-burning fireplace or stove. Cover wood with a tarp or stack some in a carport or garage to keep it from being buried by snow.
What to do if power goes out

“If a customer loses power, he or she should call NOVEC at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500 to report it,” instructs Larry Shaffer, vice president of system operations. “Leaving a message on our automated interactive voice response system is the best method because it sends customer information directly into the outage management system and will update customers on any known information. Calling the system back later will also provide available updates.”

Customers with access to the Internet can report outages at http://www.novec.com on computers and http://www.novec.com/mobile on smartphones. They can use NOVEC’s smartphone application available at http://www.novec.com/contact_us/apps.cfm Or, c.ustomers can report an outage by sending NOVEC a text message. They can sign up for the Co-op’s text-messaging service at http://www.novec.com/novecout or by, texting the keyword NOVECOUT to 85700.

“Customers can follow what’s happening on Facebook and Twitter,” Shaffer notes, “but they cannot report outages via social media because those sites aren’t connected to our reporting system. Call or text us, or go online instead.”

Tips and precautions

Open freezers and refrigerators only when necessary.
Open exterior doors only when necessary.
Run portable generators, camp stoves, or grills only outdoors to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning. Alternatively, heat food in a chafing dish or fondue pot over canned fuel.
Never go anywhere near a downed power line. If you see a line that’s down, assume it’s energized and deadly. Keep others far away and report it immediately to NOVEC at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500, or call 911.

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