Power Outages

Power outages can occur due to rolling blackouts, extreme weather conditions, or can accompany other disasters such as earthquakes. Blackouts can happen anywhere and to anyone.

During a power outage

  • Turn off and unplug appliances and computers. Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
  • Avoid using candles. They are fire hazards.
  • Do not use a gas stove for heating or operate generators indoors (including the garage). Both could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If a traffic signal is not working, treat it as a stop sign.
  • Fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one for the frozen water to expand. Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes out.
  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Back up computer files and operating systems. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
  • Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners, and other electronic devices when they are not being used.
  • Get a high-quality surge protector for your electronic equipment.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
  • If you have a telephone that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone), plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cell phone, radio, or pager.
  • Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power the pumps.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) may not work during a power outage, so make sure you have extra cash at home.
  • Know if you live in an area that has rolling blackouts. A rolling blackout occurs when a power company turns off electricity to selected areas to save power. The blackouts are typically for one hour, then the power is restored and another area is turned off. Hospitals, airport control towers, police stations, and fire departments are often exempt from these rolling blackouts. They can happen at any time of day and may affect the same area more than once a day.
  • See the Food section to learn about food safety when your refrigerator’s power is off.

Delmarva Power

  • New Castle County: 800-898-8042
  • Kent County: 800-898-8045
  • Sussex County: 800-898-8045

Delaware Electric Cooperative


  • New Castle County: 800-282-8595
  • Kent County: 302-398-9090
  • Sussex County: 302-349-9090


  • New Castle: 800-282-8595
  • Kent County: 302-398-9009
  • Sussex County: 302-349-9009

Power contact numbers by city

  • City of Wilmington: 302-576-3914
  • City of New Castle: 302-323-2330
  • City of Newark: 302-366-7050
  • Town of Middletown: 302-378-2711
  • Town of Smyrna: 302-653-9231
  • City of Dover: 302-736-7086
  • City of Milford: 302-422-1110
  • City of Lewes: 302-645-6228
  • City of Seaford: 302-629-4550