Be prepared for a winter emergency

Blustery winter storms can cause a power failure with little warning.

And if you use a natural gas furnace to heat your home, you could lose it with no warning if there’s a pipeline incident.

If either should happen, Manitoba Hydro will work as quickly as possible to restore your service.

If your electricity goes out

  • Check with neighbours to see if they still have electrical service. If there are street lights near you, check if they’re on.
  • If the service interruption is in your home only, the main circuit breaker may have tripped. Turn off some lights and appliances to reduce the load and reset the circuit breaker. If your power is still off, report it to Manitoba Hydro online or call 1-888-624-9376.
  • Use a flashlight instead of candles to avoid the risk of fire.
  • If your freezer is full, food will keep for 48 hours when the power is off. Open it as little as possible to prevent cold air escaping.
  • Fuel-burning equipment not connected to a chimney or vent should not be used indoors, as it can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances. Pay special attention to those you may have been using when the power went out, such as a stove.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment to protect it from a voltage surge once power is restored.

If your natural gas goes out

Although rare, a natural gas outage can happen anytime. In the event of a natural gas incident, we work closely with local emergency responders. It may involve temporary evacuations or street closures to keep you safe until we stop the leak. If your gas service goes out in cold weather:

  • Stay calm.
  • Put on extra clothing layers.
  • Close blinds and drapes and avoid opening doors to conserve heat.
  • If the power is still on, use an electric heater to maintain heat in one room in a main living area.
  • Be extremely careful with portable generators, barbecues, camping stoves, and propane or kerosene heaters. Never use them inside your home or garage.
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm with a battery backup on each level of your home. Test them regularly.
  • If pipes are in danger of freezing, leave cold water dripping from faucets. Even a trickle helps prevent freezing.

When natural gas is restored, you may need to re-light the pilot light(s) of your furnace and hot water heater. If you don’t know how, contact Manitoba Hydro at 1-888-624-9376.

If you leave your home, please leave your contact information with a neighbour. An adult must be present to allow our utility service representative to enter the home to restore service. Our employees carry photo ID and will show it to you on request.

On its own, natural gas is colourless and odourless. As a precaution, an odourant (mercaptan) that smells like rotten eggs is added. This allows natural gas leaks to be easily detected.

If you smell natural gas

  • Get everyone out of the house immediately.
  • Do not light matches, smoke, operate electrical switches or appliances that could create a source of ignition.
  • If inside a building, leave the doors open as you exit.
  • From a safe place, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.

Be prepared

Pack essential items in an emergency box and store it where it will be easy to find in the event of a power outage. Items include:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries.
  • Bottled water.
  • Portable charger for mobile devices.
  • Food that doesn’t require cooking.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Blankets.
  • First aid kit.