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LES recommends customers prepare for possible severe weather, power outages

LINCOLN – With Nebraska’s Severe Weather Awareness Week upon us, Lincoln-area residents should prepare for potentially severe weather, and refresh themselves on how to contact Lincoln Electric System in the event of a power outage.

When outages occur, customers need to call the LES PowerLine at 1-888-365-2412 or report the outage on LES.com by selecting the “Report Outages” button and filling out an online form, said Dan Pudenz, LES vice president of Energy Delivery.

“PowerLine – our automated system – immediately sends a customer’s report to our dispatchers who then send repair crews into the area to locate the cause of the outage and restore power,” he said.

When a customer calls PowerLine, the system receives the caller’s phone number and identifies the associated address recorded in its database. If a customer’s number isn’t listed in the database, he or she will need to provide that information.

To make PowerLine work best for customers, they should register or update their contact information now through LES’ website or by calling Customer Service at 402-475-4211.

Customers shouldn’t assume their neighbors will report an outage. The more customers who call, the better LES can identify the scope of the outage area.

If customers use portable generators during an outage, Pudenz said they should never be plugged into a home outlet or connected to a building’s wiring. This won’t isolate it from LES’ electric system, and it can backfeed into LES lines. This situation could cause serious injury to crews or contractors working on the lines or others who come in contact with downed lines.

Crews use a grounding system for their personal protection that can damage an improperly installed generator, Pudenz said. In addition, when power is restored to the electric system, it feeds into residences and can damage or destroy a generator.

LES offers the following tips to customers during outages:

  • If there’s a life-threatening emergency, customers should call 911.
  • Assume a downed wire is energized, as well as anything it touches. Don’t attempt to move a downed line.
  • Keep a flashlight handy and have fresh batteries nearby.
  • Have a phone at home that doesn’t need electricity to make calls, such as a cellphone. If severe weather is forecast, make sure your cellphone is fully charged.
  • Turn off appliances and other electrical or electronic equipment to avoid damage when electricity is restored.
  • Know how to operate your garage door manually.

For more information on how to prepare yourself and your home for a potential power outage, visit LES.com or LESvideovault on YouTube.com.