Report an Outage
To report an outage call 800-225-4532800-225-4532.
When reporting an outage, have the following information ready:
- Name on your account
- Account number
- Phone number on your account, as well as a call back number
- Time of the outage
The outage map provides real-time outage information by county or electric co-op service territory for the state of Iowa.
When widespread outages strike Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative's territory, our Facebook page will be used to communicate up-to-date information.
- Call 800-225-4532. Be sure to have your account number ready so we can identify your location quickly and accurately.
- Turn off major appliances to protect them from any high- or low-voltage conditions, and to decrease the load when the lines are reconnected.
- Leave a light switch on. This will let you know when service has been restored.
- Please, be patient. Our crews work to repair dangerous/critical conditions first, then those that affect the most people, and then smaller groups. After you report an outage, it will only be a matter of time before power is restored. Office dispatchers cannot give an estimated repair time as they cannot see all the damage in the area. However, if your neighbor's power is restored and yours is not, please call and report the issue.
Critical Care Account List - "I'm on oxygen."
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative maintains a Critical Care Account list to better serve our member-owners. Members who qualify are notified of a planned outage where crews will be working on distribution lines serving your account. In the event of a planned outage, your Cooperative will make a diligent effort to let you know in advance so you can make arrangements for your critical load. This list is not intended for prior notification of unplanned outages, such as storms that are beyond our control. If an unplanned outage were to occur, priority is always extended to restore power to member-owners on the Critical Care Account list. Member-owners may qualify to be part of the Critical Care Account list if they are on life support equipment, such as:
- respirators and home dialysis
- oxygen concentrators
- bi-pap or c-pap machines, or
- other human life-threatening medical conditions.
You may also qualify if you operate livestock confinements or have industrial accounts. If you have not recently notified Iowa Lakes of your need to be on the Critical Care Account list, or qualify to be on the contact list please call 800-225-4532 or download the Critical Care Account Request Form.
Please do not hesitate to contact Iowa Lakes if you have any questions about the Critical Care Account list or if you feel that you or any family members or friends may qualify for this customer care service.
What are the causes of outages?
We make every attempt to keep your power on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That said, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and the wilderness. A lot of things can cause an outage. A few examples include:
- Squirrels, birds, snakes and other animals
- Trees, vines and other plants
- People - cars hitting poles, workers hitting lines
- Lightning, wind, rain and sleet
"How do I know when to call an electrician and when to call Iowa Lakes?"
Good question. Iowa Lakes owns and maintains all the lines, wires, transformers and various other types of equipment up to the METER ON THE METER POLE. If there is a problem beyond the meter on the meter pole, it is your responsibility to contact a local electrician to have the problem resolved. If you are not sure where the problem is originating, contact Iowa Lakes and we will help determine the nature of the problem.
"What causes my lights to blink?"
This is a very popular question in the electric utility business. Usually, blinking lights are a result of momentary outages that occur when some type of disturbance exists on the line. This could be a lightning strike, an automobile striking a pole or a squirrel or tree branch coming in contact with an energized power line.
Actually when lights blink, it is an indication that our equipment is operating properly. Blinking lights reflect the operation of equipment that protects the lines and keeps the power from going off for more than just a moment. Our distribution system includes special devices called reclosures that operate whenever there is a short circuit on the line. If the short circuit is temporary, which is usually the case, the reclosure permits power to continue flowing through the line with only a brief interruption of service (meaning your lights blink!).
Without this device, every short circuit, temporary or otherwise, would cause the power to be off until we could send a linecrew to restore service. Usually, these reclosures will operate or trip three times before stopping the flow of electricity and causing a power outage. This reclosure operation protects the lines from damage.
Why can't you tell me how long my power will be out?
If the outage is extensive with significant damage to our system, we cannot always tell what has been damaged until we begin to restore power. A connection that appears to be fine may, in fact, be damaged and will not show up until the lines to it are fixed and energized.
Why do I need to call? Don't you know right away if we are out of power?
We won't know immediately if you are out of power. Our metering system will eventually report that your power is out but that can take time. Besides, if the outage cause is inside your home or business our metering system does not see that since our power to the meter is still there. If you lose power, check to be sure your breakers haven't tripped and if they are fine, give us a call.
I am going on a trip and am worried that my power might go out while I am away.
Here's where you need to enlist the assistance of friends or family. Some folks will leave a light on in a specific window and ask someone to make sure to check it frequently. If the light goes out, they can check your house to be sure it isn't a problem inside and then they can let us know.
We have had a big storm with lots of people out of power. It seems like mine has been out longer What do I do?
In large storms, damage hits all parts of our system. Our crews work to restore the largest number of member-owners and critical need member-owners first then work their way through all damage. Sometimes, the power line from our lines to your house has been damaged and we simply do not see it. Here's a simple test. Check your breakers to be sure they are all set properly, check your neighbors on both sides to see if they have power. If your breakers are fine and your neighbors have power, call us and we will get our crews to help you.
"I have a standby generator. Any special precautions I should take?"
The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requires an emergency generator to be connected to the wiring system through a double-throw switch, to disconnect the generator from the cooperative's lines when it's being used.
The safety of cooperative linemen, emergency workers and neighbors are at stake when a generator is in operation. Without the proper switch, power can be sent through the lines, which others thought were de-energized.
Whether the generator is portable or permanently mounted, make sure a double-throw switch is installed to safely connect the home to either the cooperative's lines, or the generator, but never both at once.
Each storm season has different requirements. Being prepared for a storm can help you make it through safely until power is restored.
- Have a flashlight and battery operated radio handy. Be sure to have a stock of batteries on hand.
- Have a hardwired phone (one without a power pack) or a fully charged cell phone for emergency calls.
- Have a list of important numbers: family, doctors and friends. Keep it with your storm kit.
- Stockpile water and a small supply of non-perishable food.
- Check any emergency generator for proper operation.
- Make sure you know how to exit your garage if it has a powered opener. Most have a red handle to pull that releases the mechanism so you can raise the door by hand. Check it in advance.
- Make sure you have an adequate supply of medications. If the medications require an electrically operated device to administer them, be sure you have a backup power supply or a mechanical alternative. We cannot insure when we will be able to restore power so you must take steps to be sure you can administer your medications when needed.
- During an extended outage, you might want dry ice for your refrigerator and freezer to help preserve your food.
Don't Forget Your Pets or Livestock
Man's best friend needs care in an extended outage too. If you have a family pet, an exotic pet or livestock you need to be prepared to secure their safety and comfort as well as your own. The USDA website has more information about disaster planning for animal facilities.
December 2018 Service Interruption Statistics
Total Number of Service Interruptions: 35
Consumers Who Experienced Service Interruptions: 555
Average Service Interruption Duration (Consumers experiencing an interruption in December): 9.25 mins
Average Service Interruption Per Consumer in December: 0.077 hrs
Cooperative's Corporate Goal Per Consumer/Annually: 1.5 hrs