Power Restoration

Reliable Service

Reliable Service

Salem Electric's goal is to provide members with reliable service, and we take that task seriously.

We trim trees, inspect equipment, and put a lot of effort into maintaining a reliable power system. Despite our best efforts, the weather is still out of our control. Snow, ice, high winds, and lightning can seriously damage power equipment.

Our crews work around the clock in difficult and often dangerous circumstances to restore power. If the damage is severe enough, it can take hours or days to restore power. Electricity must be restored in a specific order from the transmission line down to the individual residence, so plan ahead and have an emergency kit in an easily accessible location in case of a lengthy power outage or natural disaster event. 

During an Outage

What to Do If the Lights Go Out

  • Check your electrical panel and look for tripped breakers. Try to reset the breakers by switching all the breakers to the OFF position and then back ON. If that does not restore power, call 503-362-3601 to report the outage. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized.
  • Turn off all major appliances at the breaker including your water heater and heating system to avoid overloading the circuits when power is restored.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food will last 12 to 24 hours in a refrigerator if doors are kept closed and a full freezer can last 24 to 48 hours. 
  • Unplug electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves to avoid damage when power is restored. Consider installing surge protectors.
  • Switch on an outside light to assist crews in determining if power has been restored to your home.
  • NEVER WIRE A PORTABLE GENERATOR DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL. If not used correctly, portable generators can cause fatal accidents involving the workers on the power lines. Plug appliances into the generator. DO NOT connect household breaker circuits to the generator without a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician.

How Power is Restored

Repairs must be completed in the following order to ensure that all members’ power is restored. An individual service in the middle or at the end of a line cannot receive electricity until all of the repairs between them and the power supply have been made. This is a simple step-by-step process that has to be used when restoring power during a power outage.

  1. Supplier's Transmission Lines
    Supplier’s transmission lines have to be restored first; otherwise, there is no power for the rest of the system. We must confirm that our power supplier’s transmission lines are operational and capable of supplying electricity to our substations.
  2. Substations
    Before we can make any progress and move forward with repairs, we must make any necessary repairs to our substations. Substations must be in working order so that the appropriate voltage is transferred to the power lines that feed your home. 
  3. Feeders and Main Lines
    These main distribution lines leave the substation and supply power to the majority of members. Repairs have to be done there before electricity can be delivered to your home or business. Without them operating properly, you will be without electricity.
  4. Tap Lines or Branch Lines
    These tap or branch lines come off of the main lines or feeders and supply one or more homes.
  5. Individual Services
    Generally these lines serve only one home. Most often they are the lines that go directly to a house from the pole.

Power Outage Preparation

Being prepared is the key to being comfortable during a power outage. Know how to operate your garage door manually. Electric garage doors will not work when the power is off.

Plan ahead and have the following items readily accessible:

  • Flashlight and battery-operated radio. Store batteries separately and check them periodically
  • A 2–3 day supply of canned/packaged food and fresh bottled water
  • A car charger for your cell phone or mobile device
  • A first aid kit
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Gas camp stove or barbecue. Make sure to have extra fuel and NEVER use a camp stove or barbecue indoors!