Summer heat wave: Stay cool and get ready

We're prepared for high temperatures and high electric use. It's important for you to be ready, too.

What we're doing

With weather forecasts calling for a week of really hot days, we're preparing for high demand for electricity as everyone works to stay cool. Because periods of extreme heat can place extra stress on electrical equipment, our team is working to ensure systems are ready to perform during periods of peak demand. Extra cooling systems on essential distribution equipment are ready to help keep our own equipment from overheating. We also have crews at the ready so that we can quickly and effectively respond to any outages.

What you can also do

Review these tips to help you keep cool

  • Bring the cool air in. Open windows in the morning or late evening when it’s cool outside. When it’s approaching 75 to 80 degrees, close windows and draw the shades or blinds to keep in cool air.

  • If you don’t have good blinds, tack up a light-colored sheet or blanket over sun-facing windows to block sunlight.

  • Don’t heat your home unnecessarily. Avoid:

    • Cooking with your stove or oven. Use a microwave or outside grill instead.

    • Drying laundry and running the dishwasher in the afternoon and evening.

    • Do laundry and dishes in the early morning or late evening, or set your timer to have them run overnight. And turn off the heat dry setting on your dishwasher.

  • Your air conditioning system or stand-alone unit has to work much harder when it’s this hot to maintain the same temperature as usual — which can use more energy. To help offset this, consider:

    • Setting your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when you’re at home, health permitting, and 85 degrees when you’re away.

    • Turning on your ceiling fan when using the air conditioner, which allows you to raise your thermostat about 4 degrees to save energy without reducing comfort.

    • But remember: Fans cool people, not rooms, so turn fans off in empty rooms.

    • Switch to energy-saving LED light bulbs. They don’t put off heat like incandescent or halogen lights, use up to 85 percent less energy and can last 25 years or more.

  • Use our free online Energy Tracker tool to keep an eye on your energy use.

Stay safe during the heat

If you rely on electricity for your health, and you are not yet part of our Medical Certificate program, call us and we will enroll you.

And, be sure to have a backup plan: Know how to get to an alternate location or should you lose power. Call 211 for transportation to a cooling center.

If you’ve got an extra fan or are out buying fans, consider donating one to the Meals on Wheels People for distribution to elderly neighbors in need.

Have an outage kit

Create a summer outage kit and make sure everyone in your home knows where to find it. Below are a few basic items.

  • Flashlights or headlamps

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and clock or watch

  • Battery-powered or hand-held fans

  • Extra batteries

  • Car chargers for cell phones and electronic devices

  • Bottled water for people and animals (if you rely on electricity to pump water)

  • Frozen cold packs or water frozen in bags or plastic bottles (keep ready in your freezer)

  • Emergency phone numbers, including PGE Customer Service: 503-228-6322

Plan to keep food safe

Consider these food safety tips from

  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags to help keep food cool if your power goes out. Don’t fill them too full, or they might split as water expands when it freezes.

  • Use appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to be sure your food is safe in case of a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.

  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.

  • Have a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

Stay in touch

Follow PGE on Facebook or Twitter and know how to connect with us.

Report an outage and get updates

If you're a residential or small business customer, we'll text you if your power goes out, so you shouldn't need to report it. But if you don't get a text, you can still report outages. Just download our mobile app, report online or call:

Plan for medical needs

Use medical life-support equipment? Have a plan in place and consider a backup generator in case of an extended power outage.

Save energy

There are lots of ways to save energy. We have tips and resources that will help. Not only will you end up using less energy but, in many cases, you’ll lower your bill.