Are you covered if your electronics sustain damage after an outage?

A power outage or power surge—whether triggered by a storm, lightning, trees, animals, or vehicles hitting power poles—can damage computer equipment, TVs, and other appliances in your home. These events are all out of Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric’s control and the co-op does not compensate for any damaged equipment.

However, most homeowner’s insurance policies cover losses from power interruptions caused by lightning, windstorms, and other such weather. Make sure you’re familiar with your policy and what is covered. Call your agent if you’re not sure about your specific coverage and/or deductible.

You can help protect your own equipment by unplugging them during a power outage and by installing surge protection. Unfortunately, surge protectors will not save you from a low voltage event, or brownout. Dimming lights in your residence are a sign you are experiencing a brownout; the voltage goes down, but the amperage goes up. This potentially can cause appliances with motors, like refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners that do not have thermal protection to eventually overheat.

If you notice lights dimming or electronics cycling on and off, unplug any sensitive devices immediately to limit the strain they sustain from sagging voltage. By reducing power consumption, you will contribute to ending the brownout due to less usage on the electric grid.

Under Steele-Waseca’s terms and conditions application for membership and electric service, it states, “The Cooperative will use reasonable diligence to provide and maintain uninterrupted service to its members. In cases of cessation, deficiency, variation in voltage, or any failure or reversal of the service resulting from acts of God, public enemies, vandalism, accidents, strikes, riots, wars, repairs, order of court, or other acts reasonably beyond the control of the Cooperative, the Cooperative will not be liable for damages, direct or consequential, resulting from such interruption or failure.”

During a power outage, you are encouraged to keep a small lamp or nightlight plugged in and turned on in order to know when power is restored.