In Case of a Power Outage

Published by Silicon Valley Power® (SVP), City of Santa Clara, California, USA.

Photo: Silicon Valley Power®

Power outages are inconvenient for everyone, and we at Silicon Valley Power (SVP) do everything we can to reliably maintain your power. When we do have an outage, SVP is dedicated to resolving the problem as quickly as possible. We take pride in being ranked among the top 10 percent of utilities in the nation for power reliability.

If the power does go out, here are a few things you can do to make sure that you, your family and those around you stay safe and sound.

Be Prepared
  • Visit the USDA food safety site or go to, look for “Food Safety,” print out the safety guidelines and tape them inside a food cupboard.
  • Have a cooler, and keep ice packs and/or containers of water stored in your freezer. During an outage, the ice packs can protect your food in the cooler, or they can be moved from the freezer to your refrigerator to help keep it cool.
  • Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
  • Keep canned food on hand along with a hand-operated can opener.
  • Have flashlights and fresh batteries readily available to use during a power outage.
  • Emergency lights that turn on when the power goes off can be useful and can be found at any hardware store or online.
  • Plug electronic equipment into surge protectors to protect against a surge when power is restored.
  • Have a battery-operated radio and fresh batteries or hand-cranked radio available.
  • Find out more practical information for power outage readiness.
Keep Your Food Safe in an Emergency

If you lose your power, you’ll want to be sure that the food in your refrigerator remains safe to eat for as long as possible.

Here are some valuable Food Safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and one in the freezer at all times. Built-in temperature displays may not function during an outage.
  • Keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 40 °F.
  • Keep frozen food at or below 0 °F.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check thermometers only when opening doors for another reason.
  • The refrigerator should keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • If you have frozen ice packs or containers of water, you can place them in the refrigerator to help keep the temperature cool.
  • A full freezer should hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. See the Food Safety guidelines for more information.
  • Know USDA guidelines about packing frozen food closely together in the freezer if the freezer is not full.
Stay Connected During a Power Outage

It is most likely that you will lose the connection to your home Internet equipment such as a router or modem, and certainly lose external power for your electronic equipment such as computers and TVs during a power outage. In addition, you may lose connection to external wireless and cell phone services.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has tips that can help in an emergency. Here are some ideas that may help you maintain or regain connection to Internet access and/or cell phone service, if it is available, during a power outage:

  • Most mobile devices that are powered or charged using a USB cable require a 5-volt power source, not a 110-volt household outlet.
  • Most modern laptop computers have USB ports that provide 5-volt power. You can connect using the USB power cord that you normally use to charge your phone. Keep your laptop charged, as it can be a source to recharge your cell phone during an outage.
  • Your vehicle’s lighter outlet can provide numerous recharges for your cell phone using an inexpensive USB adapter. Connect the adapter using the USB power cord that you use for your phone.
  • An extra battery pack or solar battery pack for your cell phone is wise and inexpensive.
  • Unplug unprotected electronic equipment to protect against a power surge when electricity of restored, or use a surge protector.

Last Updated: 2020-09-16

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Published by PQBlog

Electrical Engineer

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