Do you ever get that automated call from Hydro One in Ontario Cottage Country about a planned power outage? What is a planned power outage? What is it for and what does it do?
Well, for starters, unlike storm and climatic events that cause damage to the hydro system within your area, and are random, planned outages are scheduled, well in advance. They are controlled measures that the Hydro Company takes to perform:
- System Upgrades
- Changing over Meters to newer technology
- Repairs to current technology
- Adding more connections
- Protecting workers during assignments
If your cottage is like ours, it essentially powered and heated by one source: hydro electricity. The idea is that in a perfect world these power outages are scheduled well in advance and are a necessary evil to enhance our power grids and make them more efficient.
A rare challenge when you have or host a cottage rentals is the misfortunes of having a power outage occur while it is occupied. There is not much you can do for acts of God or random accidental outages due to fallen trees or blown transformers etc… those are part of the lifestyle in remote areas of Ontario Cottage Country. But there are measures you can take to add some added conveniences should an outage be scheduled, or a random outage happen, while your cottage rental is occupied.
- Flashlights. Have some in accessible locations within the dwelling, and I always keep one in my car, just in case. Make sure you check them a couple of times of year and always have some extra batteries in the freezer just in case.
- Candles and matches stored in a sealed Ziploc are always a good idea.
- Propane BBQ’s are usually found at most cottage rentals. If you are looking to upgrade to a newer model, consider one with an extra side burner, just in case you need the element.
- If you have a wood stove, it’s always a good idea to have some extra wood available as a secondary heating source.
- If you have one at a reasonable price, and are open to the idea, some cottage owners have opted for a backup generator in areas that have more frequent service interruptions, especially in winter. Some are propane and some are gas powered.
- Solar and Wind energy are other sources of energy that are both economical and eco-friendly, but note that there are some start up costs that may need some planning before you get started.
- A battery operated radio, like a flash light can be very helpful. And again, check the batteries and have extra in the freezer.
- Back up supplies such as water if your plumbing relies on hydro—-smart plan.
- If the outage is scheduled, plan a trip out during the time you do not have hydro, especially in the winter season. You just never know what might happen and you may need to void out any water in your pipes to prevent some freezing pipes.
- Confirm the duration with the hydro company as to how long the outage will be, weather it is scheduled or accidental. There is always an 800 number available with an emergency service line in the remote areas. Someone will be available to answer all your questions.
- It’s always good to document the time and duration the outage occurred if it is accidental.
- If the outage is scheduled, it might be best not to rent it out that weekend. Most scheduled outages happen on the weekend. Be wise not to inconvenience your guests
Be smart and safe, plan ahead and always have a backup plan when the lights go out!