Power Outages: Information & Facts

A downed power pole in the winter

When a power outage only lasts an hour or two, it can be a fun excuse to get out the board games. But when power outages last days or even weeks, particularly in times of extreme weather, your home can quickly become uninhabitable. 

Without heating, air conditioning, lighting, or even running water, families need to develop a plan to deal with their situation.

Preparing for Power Outages: Before, During & After

Power Outage Basics

All areas in Canada experience occasional power outages -- these are often caused by extreme weather, like high winds and freezing rain causing damage to power lines and equipment. During heat waves and cold snaps, the electric power system can become overloaded.

Power outages can be particularly difficult for family members with special needs or those with health vulnerabilities. Outages can cause complications in larger institutions like hospitals, shelters, and water treatment plants, though these places have generators onsite.

The most severe type of power outage is a blackout, which is when an area loses power entirely. These can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks. All Canadians play a part in the strain on the power system, whether it’s the temperature on your thermostat or the types of lightbulbs in your fixtures.

Power outages can happen anywhere. Areas that are more prone to floods, hurricanes, extreme cold or heat waves will experience more weather-related power outages. 

When power goes down across an area, local hydro companies will work tirelessly to get it back up and running. In the meantime, the more that you’ve planned and ahead and prepared, the more comfortable you and your family will be

Since power outages are so closely tied to weather, you can stay informed by following storm warnings and weather forecasts through Public Weather Alerts Canada.

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