Do I call the power company or an electrician?
With any glitch in our electricity, our first response is, “What do I do”? This is usually followed by the next question, “Who do I call?” There are a few things to think about when the power to your house is compromised that may answer these questions for you.
In the case of a power outage the first thing you should ask yourself is , “what is going on that could have caused this?” Is there violent weather outside? This is usually the cause and the first thing that will be noticed during a power failure. However, it is not always that obvious. It could be a beautiful day outside, yet a dead branch on the power lines or a car accident miles down the road may affect the power at your house.
The next question you should ask yourself, “Is it just my house or are my neighbors out too?” Call your neighbors if you don’t see the obvious outside first. If it is night time and you can see the street lights or the neighbors, look out the window and see if their lights are on. In a neighborhood, with houses in line of sight, this is almost a no-brainer. When you live in a rural area with good distances between the houses, the phone call to your neighbor would be your next step.
If the answer is determined by either of these two questions, your next call should usually be to the power company. They can dispatch a crew or have an answer for you as to whether or not there is a service affecting issue at your address. If these situations are not answered quite so easily or if the answer to these is a resounding “no” then your next call is to an electrician.
The electrician in most situations will ask you a few questions so they can assess over the phone what you may or may not be looking at. They will ask the aforementioned questions and then a few more such as: “Did you check your main circuit breaker to see if it has tripped?” “Is the overhead line to your house still attached to the house?” “Is the entire house out or just a portion of it?” I mention this as more than once a client has said their entire house is down when it was just the room they are accustomed to being in all of the time.
In most cases, if you can start with the power company, the better off it is for you as there is usually no cost to you, the homeowner. Once you call an electrician, you are calling a service provider to troubleshoot and remedy a situation and that is usually at a cost to the homeowner.