Outage Safety

Greater Sudbury Hydro’s electricity distribution system contains over 12, 000 poles, 1,000+ kms of overhead and underground lines, and serves over 47,800 customers within the City of Greater Sudbury and the Municipality of West Nipissing.

Interruptions in electrical service may last a few seconds or a few hours, depending on the cause. There are two main types: planned and unplanned.

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Before the power goes out

There are many simple things you can do at home or at work to be prepared for a power outage.

  • Have at least one telephone with an attached handset for emergency communications. Cordless telephones do not work when the power is out.
  • Keep your cell phone fully charged.
  • Ensure there is always sufficient fuel in your vehicle to meet possible emergency travel needs.
  • If someone in your household uses life support equipment, make arrangements for a back-up power supply or transportation to another facility in the event of a power outage.
  • Install surge protection devices on sensitive electronic equipment such as televisions, computers and microwave ovens to help protect them from surges when power is restored. Consider purchasing an uninterruptible power source (UPS) to minimize the impact of a power loss on sensitive equipment.
  • If you have a garage door opener, familiarize yourself with the manual operation of the unit so that in an emergency you can get out of the garage quickly and safely.
  • If you require a pump for your water supply, ensure that you have a back-up power supply or have bottled water.
  • If you are considering purchasing a standby portable generator, follow this link to Generator Safety from the Electrical Safety Authority.

Power Outage Preparedness

There is excellent information on power outage preparedness and emergency kits (as well as advice on dealing with several other Hazards) on the Government of Canada’s “Get Prepared” website:

Get Prepared

To build a complete disaster supplies kit, you can also follow this link to the City of Greater Sudbury Emergency Kits.

Emergency Kits

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During a power outage

During a power outage, safely identifying the source of the outage is key.

If your power goes out unexpectedly, check your circuit breakers or fuses. If a circuit has tripped or a fuse has blown, reset the breaker or replace the fuse to restore your power. If you still have no power, call Greater Sudbury Hydro at 705-675-7536 (Sudbury) and 705-753-2341 (West Nipissing) to report a power outage.

Give us your name, address and telephone number, plus:

  • The nature of the problem
  • Where the problem is located
  • How long you have been without power
Some Helpful Tips
  • Ensure that all stove elements and ovens are turned OFF and that nothing has been placed on top of the stove.
  • Use flashlights and chemical light sticks for alternative lighting.
  • If you see a downed power line, STAY BACK 10 METERS! Don’t allow anyone to touch or drive over a power line – even an experienced power lineperson can’t tell if a line is energized just by looking at it. Always assume a downed line is “live”, even if it’s not jumping or sparking.
  • Do not enter a flooded basement, room or building. If your home or business is flooded, never enter standing water unless you’re absolutely sure the main power has been shut off. Call your hydro company if you aren’t sure, and a crew will attend to investigate.
  • If you decide to use a gas or charcoal barbecue for cooking, be sure you USE IT OUTSIDE. Both gas and charcoal BBQs give off toxic gasses that can hurt or kill you and your family if used in an unventilated area.
  • If you have a portable generator, operate it outdoors only, positioned carefully to ensure that fumes do not enter the building.
  • Generators and hot gases should be kept away from combustibles. Store fuel for the generator outside in an approved container a safe distance away from the building and generator.
  • Refuel only after shutting it down and letting it cool. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations regarding use.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed during a power outage as much as possible. A full freezer will keep food frozen for approximately 48 hours, while a freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately 4 hours. For more information on food safety: Public Health Sudbury District (PHSD).

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After power is restored

Once power is restored, storm clean up may be required and that can be dangerous.   

  • Use extreme caution when cleaning up storm damage on your property. Lines may still be live and clearing fallen branches and trees from lines could be fatal. Report any branches or trees on lines to your hydro company and STAY AT LEAST 10 METERS AWAY.
  • Please do not attempt to assist emergency and utility crews. In an emergency situation, if you would like to assist with recovery and clean-up efforts, it’s best to contact your local Red Cross to see where help is needed most.
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances. Waiting 10 to 15 minutes before plugging in and turning on equipment such as refrigerators and air conditioning units gives the power system time to stabilize.
  • Check to make sure the freezer and refrigerator are working.
  • Restock your emergency kit and return it to its regular storage place.