Outages: What Members Should Know

Electricity travels many miles from where it is generated to the member’s home. The path includes high and low voltage transmission lines, step up and down transformers, voltage regulators, switches, and overcurrent protection before being delivered to the member’s meter. At the member’s premises, electricity moves through a disconnect switch, secondary wires, junction boxes and breakers or fuses before being used by appliances in the home. Even with so many possible points of failure, electricity is delivered to Nodak members 99.96 percent of the time.

Most line outages people experience are caused by severe weather (typically wind, ice, rain and lightning), loss of substation service, wildlife and tree contact, device failure, public damage from power line contact by vehicles, farm and construction equipment or by planned scheduled maintenance. Loss of power can happen at the member’s home by a secondary wire failure and blown fuse or tripped breaker due to an overloaded circuit. An outage can result in a momentary blink or brownout (period of low voltage), up to several minutes without power.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if the outage is from Nodak or me?
The easiest way to know is by looking at your main meter outside the home. If there is no LED display of readings, power is not being delivered by Nodak. If a display is present, check your fuses/breakers and call an electrician if needed. If you are unsure, please call Nodak.

How do I report a power outage?
Once a member has determined an outage is not caused by own equipment, report the outage by calling 1-800-732-4373, at any time, and be sure to press 1 when prompted by automated attendant. DO NOT post outage reports on Nodak’s Facebook page as the timeline is not monitored 24 hours/day.

No one answered my after-hours call, what should I do?
Periodically, Nodak receives more outage calls than has personnel to answer. This typically happens when substation service is lost or a feeder has been opened affecting hundreds of members at once. If this happens to you, please try again later.

How do I know what is going on?
During extended outages, Nodak will post updates on its Facebook page, or members can access the outage viewer map at www.nodakelectric.com by clicking on “outages” at the top menu of the home page.

Can Nodak tell me when my power will be restored during an outage?
Power restoration time is easier to predict during planned or single member outages, but can be difficult during extended outages where more than one outage type could be occurring at the same time. During a single severe weather event, outages may be caused by loss of substation service, wire breaks, broken poles, damage to member equipment or a combination. Another reason why outage restoration times are difficult to predict is that plans can change at any time on where crews are dispatched to respond.

What should I do during an outage?

  • Remain calm and report your outage to Nodak.
  • Turn off electrical appliances in use when outage occurred, such as ovens/stoves or hot plates and portable electric heaters. Do leave a light switch on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Keep doors closed on refrigerators and freezers as much as possible during power outages to keep food cold for a longer period of time.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to Nodak immediately – please. Even lines that appear harmless can be dangerous.
  • Have a power outage kit on hand consisting of spare fuses, flashlight, portable radio and fresh batteries.
  • Have your charged cellphone or smart device handy.
  • Please consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for medical necessity devices, computers and sump pumps or standby generator during extended power interruptions.

Please remember that during extended power outages, Nodak’s goal is to restore service to the greatest number of members as quickly as possible. Line crews begin at the substation (power source) and work their way out to individual services.