What To Do If the Lights Go Out

If your entire house or apartment is without electricity, check the neighborhood to see if there is a power outage. If neighbors’ windows are dark, a call to Willmar Municipal Utilities will help us restore service as quickly as possible. If you have difficulty getting through, we may be receiving a large volume of calls and may already know about your outage.

If electricity is out in only your house or part of your house, then chances are a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has shut off because of an overload or a short circuit. To get service again, you will need to replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker in your electric switch box by turning it completely off, then on.

Turning Your Electricity On and Off

Main Switch:

Know where your home’s main electric switch is, so you can turn off the electric supply to your entire home quickly in case of emergency.


  • Know where your fuse box or circuit-breaker box is located.
  • Know the correct sizes of any fuses needed in your home and keep spares on hand. Blown fuses must be replaced, not repaired. Do not replace a fuse with one of higher amperage.
  • If a fuse blows, disconnect or turn off the appliance(s) that may have caused the problem.
  • Shut off the main electric switch before replacing a fuse.

Circuit Breakers:

  • Know how to reset a circuit breaker. After turning off or unplugging appliances on the circuit, push the switch firmly to the off position, then back on. If the overloads is cleared, the electricity will come back on.
  • If your circuit breakers trip off repeatedly, there could be a problem with the appliance(s) on that circuit. If the appliances are unplugged but the circuit breaker trips off again, call an electrician.

Lighting Your Home

Good lighting, both inside and outside your home, not only helps avoid accidents. It increases your home security, makes household tasks easier and makes it easier for emergency personnel to find your home.


  • Direct lighting over any stairs increases safety. Contrasting colors between the floor and first step will help you see the difference in height.
  • With two-way switches at the top and bottom of stairways, you will always be able to turn on the light from either end.


    • Good lighting on steps and stairways helps prevent slips and falls.
    • Be sure there is enough light to see who is at your door.
    • Address markers should be well-lit and visible from the street.

Cords, plugs, and outlets:

  • Make sure extension cords used outdoors are rated for outdoor use. A red UL label indicates that they are suitable for outdoor and indoor use.
  • Discard decorations with worn or frayed electrical cords, damaged plugs, or loose connections.
  • Make sure all unused outlets that are accessible to small children have safety covers.
  • Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet. This could lead to electric shock.
  • Do not plug one power strip into another power strip (“daisy-chaining”). This increases the chance of shorting out appliances and creating a hazard.
  • Do not cover a power strip. This can create extra heat leading to the power strip catching fire.
  • Do not use power strips in damp or wet areas (like a basement or utility/laundry room).