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Business Owners: Prepare for Utility Disruptions

Business Owners: Prepare for Utility Disruptions

Have a plan in place in case a natural disaster or other hazard knocks out your business’s electricity or natural gas service.

  • Identify energy utilities—The utilities that are absolutely necessary to running your business. How might a disaster impact the availability of those utilities?
  • Determine backup options—Contact your utility companies to discuss potential backup options, such as portable generators to provide power.
  • Learn how and when to turn off utilities—For example, if you turn off your natural gas, a professional technician must turn it back on. Learn more
  • Consider using backup generators—Generators can power the most important aspects of your business in an emergency. This will involve:
    • Determining how much power you’ll need to operate vital systems and equipment during an emergency;
    • Choosing the best type of generator, such as a diesel- or natural gas-fueled generator, or a commercial-grade generator;
    • Obtaining any necessary Federal, State, or local permits required to use a generator;
    • Installing the generator according to manufacturer instructions, utility specifications, and building safety codes;
    • Perhaps pre-wiring the generator to the building’s essential electrical equipment;
    • Maintaining service contracts and periodically testing the backup system to make sure it works; and
    • Maintaining adequate fuel supplies to power the backup system properly, and for several days if necessary.
      Learn more


Disclaimer: Because every emergency is different, it is important for your safety that you follow the directives of your state and local emergency management authorities and local utilities. The information provided on DOE's website is intended for general informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any particular material or service. Before engaging in any activities that could impact utility services such as electricity or natural gas, contact your local utility to ensure that the activities are done safely.

For additional emergency-planning resources, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, State and local emergency management authorities and local utilities may also provide helpful guidance.