Power outages

Unplanned power outages can occur due to storms and natural disasters. When unforeseen events happen, we work hard to safely restore power as quickly as possible. You can see current and future planned power outages on our outage map or on the FortisBC mobile app

Be prepared for power outages

To keep your family safe and minimize the effects of outages on your home, take these precautions before a storm hits.

  • Make a family emergency plan and share it with everyone in your household.
  • Post emergency and utility contact numbers in a central place in the house.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least 72 hours and store it where you can easily find it in the dark.
  • Stock up on sleeping bags, blankets and extra clothing for warmth.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms for extra safety when using generators, wood stoves, propane heaters and other fuel-burning appliances for backup. 
  • Plug electronics such as TVs, cable boxes, video game consoles and computers into surge-protecting power bars.
  • Try to keep phones charged and conserve your cell phone batteries when a storm is in the forecast.
  • Know how to use the manual releases on automated doors.

During a power outage

  • View our outage map online or on the FortisBC mobile app, and follow @FortisBC on Twitter for updates on outages and crews working in your area.
  • Switch off appliances, electronics and lights to prevent a power surge when service is restored. However, leaving one light on inside and one outside will help both you and us know when the power is back on.
  • Don’t touch your circuit breaker or fuse panel with wet hands or while standing on a damp floor.
  • If you decide to use your barbecue or propane camp stove to cook, use them outdoors only. Using them in an enclosed area could be a fire hazard and cause carbon monoxide to build up.
  • A gas cooktop can be used during a power outage to prepare food, but do not use it as a heating source.
  • Use wind-up or battery-powered flashlights. If you use candles, do not leave them unattended, especially around young children and pets.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold. In general, a half-full freezer will keep food frozen for up to 24 hours and a full freezer will keep food frozen for up to 48 hours.
  • Although a natural gas furnace will not operate during an outage, a natural gas fireplace can provide cosy warmth until the power is back on.

After the power comes back on

Wait 10 to 15 minutes after the power has been fully restored before slowly turning everything back on. This will give the entire electrical system a chance to stabilize. This is particularly important in the winter.

How long will my food keep during an outage? 

In general, a half-full freezer will keep food frozen for up to 24 hours and a full freezer will keep food fozen for up to 48 hours.

If you're concerned about food in your fridge or freezer after an outage, we asked a food scientist about safe food handling guidelines.

Watch for downed power lines after storms

Storms can cause hazards such as trees falling on power lines. If you see a downed power line, keep at least 10 metres away (33 feet, about the length of a school bus) because it could still be live. Even wires that have been down for a few days could still be live. 

If a wire falls across your vehicle, stay calm, call for help and stay in your car, unless it’s unsafe to do so. If you must get out, be careful, as you could become a path for electricity to the ground. Jump clear of the vehicle and land on both feet, and then shuffle along the ground until you’re at least 10 metres away from the vehicle. 

To report electricity hazards, call our Emergency Line at 1-866-436-7847 (24 hours) or 911.