When the Power Goes Out, Who Should You Call?
It is quite common for tree branches to fall during a storm and knock down power lines. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unsure as to what parts of the electrical system is their responsibility and what parts will be repaired by the utility company. This is especially a problem during massive outages when homeowners may be without power for several days while waiting for the utility company to show up, then are told they also need to call a licensed electrician which will mean additional time with out power.
After a storm, when it is safe to go outside, a homeowner should inspect any damage to their structure or surrounding property. Be extremely careful if there are any downed power lines. Always assume those cables are live and do not go near them. In general, when the power lines are overhead, the utility company is responsible for those cables from the street to the top of the house. After the connection at the top of the house, the homeowner is responsible for the rest of the electrical system. This includes the service cable or conduit on running down the side of the house, the meter box, and the electrical panel. When a branch knocks down the electrical wires going to the house, it usually rips the electrical service cable on the side of the house down also. During the process, it may damage the service cables, and/ or the meter box. Only an electrician can determine if the system can be secured back to the wall or needs to be replaced completely.
So, after a storm, restoring your power may require both the utility company and an electrician. If your whole neighborhood is without power, call the utility company and report it. If there is a large fallen branch on your property and the service cable is ripped off the side of your house, call a licensed electrician.