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How we restore power

When your power goes out, we work as safely and efficiently as possible to restore it.

A power line technician at the top of a pole makes repairs in a snowstorm.

Power restoration takes place in all weather and all seasons.

Enlarge image: A power line technician at the top of a pole makes repairs in a snowstorm.

Rules of restoration

  • Public safety is our first concern. We must locate downed power lines first to protect people from any harm and reduce the chance of a fire.
  • Our crews often work in hazardous conditions when they respond to outages. Their safety is a top priority.
  • Our next priority is restoring service to essential facilities like hospitals, emergency services, communication facilities, and water and sewage pumping stations.
  • If possible, we will restore electrical service to customers by re-routing power around the outage area. This re-routing allows us to restore power to the greatest number of people as soon as possible. We concentrate on neighbourhoods, businesses, and industrial and agricultural facilities.
  • We then restore service to small groups of customers and single residences.
  • Most outages happen during major storms. Snow, fallen trees or flooding can block our crews. Some customers may have to wait for power to be restored as we work to get access.

Common concerns when your power goes out

Reporting your outage

The more outage reports we receive, the faster we can pinpoint the cause of an outage. Our outage management system helps us analyze where the outage is located based on the customer reports in a given area. Our crews can respond more efficiently and quickly if they have this information. Report your outage.

Manitoba Hydro truck on site

There could be several reasons a Manitoba Hydro truck drove past your house without stopping. A crew could be driving through your neighbourhood looking for any damage, such as a downed tree on a power line. This often happens after a storm and we have extra staff on duty.

Estimated time to restore power

We do our best to tell our customers when power will be restored, but each outage is different. Our crews must locate and assess the cause of the outage and communicate with other crews and our dispatch centre, often during challenging conditions such as darkness, wind, rain, and blowing snow. We may not provide an estimated time of restoration until we can safely and accurately assess damage. When we do provide an estimated time of restoration, it can change when the full extent of damage becomes clearer. This can happen if we have to replace a wood pole.

Not all lights in the neighbourhood are off

Your lights are off but your neighbour’s lights are on. They may get electricity from a different power line or be on a different circuit. Sometimes, not all circuits are restored at the same time. During a large outage, parts of the grid are restored one-by-one rather than all at once. This process helps avoid a second outage.

Pay for only the power used

Electricity is metered so you only pay for the power you use.

Power flickering during a storm

Flickering is often caused by objects making brief contact with power lines. Most power lines in North America have a switching device that attempts to prevent surges or shorts. If something contacts a power line – like a tree, or an adjacent line – the switch will open and cut off power. It waits 3 seconds, then it closes and re-energizes the line. If the switch detects a problem again, it opens and de-energizes. This process repeats a total of 3 times before the switch stays permanently open; when that happens, a crew has to go out, locate and deal with the problem, and manually close the switch.

Food in my fridge and freezer

An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. If available, add ice to the refrigerator to keep the food at a safe temperature if the power will be out for a longer time. A full freezer will keep food frozen for about 48 hours. A freezer that is half full will keep food frozen for about 24 hours. Do not open the refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary. Read more about food safety when your power goes out.

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website for more information about food safety during and after a power outage.