Winter in North Cascades National Park
Seattle City Light DEBRA SMITH, General Manager and CEO
When the Power Goes Out
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What to do when the power goes out

Seattle City Light serves more than 400,000 homes and businesses. Occasionally, power outages occur, caused by storms, lightning, objects touching power lines, cars hitting poles, excavations of underground electric cables and equipment failure. When they occur, our crews work around the clock to restore power safely and efficiently. Please be patient. We will restore your service as quickly as possible.

Never touch or approach a downed wire or anything in contact with the wire.

Power Out?

Please do not send email to report outages. Call Customer Service at 206.684.3000. Or, call our Outage Hotline (recorded message) at 206.684.7400.

Reduce the Inconvenience - Be Prepared

Here are some tips to follow:
  • Know where your main switch is located. It can be either a circuit breaker or a fuse box. Learn how to reset the circuit breaker or safely change a fuse, and keep proper spares.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that includes: working flashlight, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket.
  • Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.
  • Do not use charcoal briquettes indoors.
  • During a major storm, have a plan for locating family members in case you are not with them. Call the American Red Cross at 206.323.2345 for more information.
  • Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Have a corded or cell phone available.

    • If your power goes out, check your main switch for a blown fuse or an open breaker. Call the Power Outage Hotline at 206.684.7400 for a recording of all known outages. If your area is not mentioned, let us know. Please give us your name, address, phone number and describe any unusual circumstances that could help us identify the problem. Meanwhile, unplug small household appliances.

      Customers relying on electric life-support machines should have emergency power and know how to operate it. Make sure your system has an alarm to alert you if the power goes out.

      Here are some considerations before and after a power outage:
      • Cold weather is especially hard on infants, children and the elderly. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, covering the head, feet and hands.
      • Close doors, windows and curtains to keep the heat in. Use your fireplace safely.
      • Use hot water sparingly. Most water heaters are insulated and will keep water hot for up to three days, depending on how much you use.
      • In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers remain closed while the power is out. When in doubt, throw it out.
      • Don't forget to reset electric clocks and other electrical timing devices.
      • Stock up on canned and dried foods for a quick and easy meal.
      • Know how to use the manual override of your electric garage door.
      • Know which exit door to use in a secured building.
      • Sometimes alarm systems are triggered when the power goes out. You may wish to make appropriate arrangements with your carrier.
      • Household pets such as tropical fish and birds may require special care. Contact your veterinarian for more information.
Related Content

Downed Power Lines
These are extremely dangerous. Stay at least 20 feet away.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Read more here.

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Report an Outage
206.684.3000 or

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  • Contact Seattle City Light

    700 5th Avenue
    Suite 3200
    P.O. Box 34023
    Seattle, WA 98124-4023

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