Emergency: Power Outage, 30 Degrees, What to Do?

As the title explains, there is a mass power outage, pretty much the entire side of my city and some of the other side too. No electricity at all. It is 30 degrees outside and getting colder. It is already dark. I have 2 different groups of guests who are supposed to check-in anytime now. Of course neither have given me an ETA. They can check-in anytime after 4pm, so they could show at any minute.

Power company estimating restoration by 530 pm but there’s no guarantee. Geez. Any ideas here? I’ve reached out to the guests inquiring about an ETA but still no response.

Should I dig out the candles? Nevermind. I only have 2, they won’t suffice. I could call Airbnb or just hope the power comes back on before they get here?

Don’t panic. It’s not your fault and the guests will be understanding, I’m sure, especially as the outage is so widespread.

We have outages quite often and I’ve yet to have a guest be grumpy about it (despite the fact that the AC goes).

I’d leave messages for the guests saying what has happened and that the power people are saying that they hope it will be back on by 5.30 pm but they can’t guarantee it. Then the guests at least are warned and you’ve done your best.

They probably won’t even think of getting alternative accommodation if everyone else local is out of power.

Make sure that you have plenty of blankets available for them.

Do you have self-check in or do you meet them? The guests might decide to delay their arrival until later in the evening - they might decide to go to dinner or something. The power should be back by then.


Do you have emergency light? Flashlights and so on? (Avoid candles).


Thank you @jaquo so much for replying! Oh! It is just now back on and no guests arrived yet. Whew. It was off for 45 minutes and it soooo cold in here so I pumped the heaters (and put the fireplace videos on the TVs, lol).

I sent messages to the guests letting them know that it had happened in case they show up shortly - that the apartments will heat up readily.

The whole side of the city! My husband is a bartender at a restaurant about a mile away and my plan has always been to send people there and he could treat them to free food or something but their power was out too!

I got out the flashlights. Hopefully we won’t need them again tonight. Thank you for you help, truly :slight_smile:

Edit to add: It could have been worse. It was 16 degrees yesterday at this time :scream:

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Wait it out. Your guests might arrive at 7 or 9PM and hopefully the power will be back on. Just in case, get more candles.

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That’s great news.

And that’s a brilliant idea.

It’s a good wake-up call though to have ‘emergency kits’ ready for guests in case it happens again. Here the problem is the heat when the power goes so I have emergency kits of drinking water and coolers (the coolers have those freezer packs - I keep them in my own freezer).

I’ve found though that guests are really understanding though - they often seem to like roughing it a bit!

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It just came back on! 15 minutes earlier than expected. But it was off for at least 45 minutes. I got a little electric radiator in the hallway and the heaters in the apartments pumped up now.

I was waiting at the top of the stairs in case someone arrived so to at least keep them from falling over things. It was really really dark.

Crazy night apparently avoided.


Those battery powered lights (with rechargeable batteries) that are motion sensors are really good for outages, especially outside. They’re pretty cheap too.

We also have some solar lights. They’re not brilliant but better than nothing.


I think I’m going to get some of those battery operated candles! They would have been useful, safe and also somewhat charming in such a situation :slight_smile:

We have 5-gallon dispensers of water so am covered on that - where I come from, water is more usually the issue.

Hey, what about table-top hibachis??? Just kidding! LOL.

Funny enough, my next door neighbor has those in her yard - even in the snow. I looked over there and considered “borrowing” a few if needed. She’s really nice, I’m pretty sure it would have been okay :wink:

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I’m glad it all worked out! Now take a deep breath and try to relax.

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You mean drink wine, right? I’m pretty sure that’s what you mean, so I am going to give it a go!


Glad your power is back on. We keep a flashlight in every bedroom nightstand and we have 3 battery operated lanterns, one in our kitchen and the other two upstairs - in the linen closet and master bedroom. The lanterns are great because they can set them on the table and play games or cards until the power comes back on.


It’s a good idea! I’m going to get some battery operated candles in case it happens again, so at least people could see to check-in. However, I doubt anyone would hang out playing board games because it’s really the heat that was the big issue and not the lights. If we hadn’t had guests coming, I would have certainly left and gone to a restaurant on the other side of town or something.

It will :slight_smile:

It’s so important as a host to think about the very worst things that could happen and make preparations for them. The chances are that at least one will happen eventually.

Use odd moments when you’re using no brain power, to imagine various situation - I used to use the time when I was in the shower :slight_smile:

A portable generator is a handy thing to have around. Possibly rarely used, but when it is needed, it is a savior.

I picked up a 3000 watt Honda unit 14 years ago and besides lighting, it’s saved two fridge/freezers full of groceries over that time. Measure your appliance wattage needs and get your self covered.


You need better lights than flashlights, btw. You need to keep camping lanterns within reach for you and them.


I never even have 1/4 a fridge or freezer worth of groceries (and that’s including condiments). But if I was stocking up like that, then that does seem like a good idea. Though, in this case, it’s probably easier just to set it all outside. It should keep fine out there. 28 degrees now :wink:

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Asking guests to store their groceries outside is a bit of a stretch. And that isn’t going to help with the dropping temps inside.

I was kind of kidding. But then again, the inside of the house was actually cold enough to store groceries anways :laughing: Actually, I wasn’t even thinking of the guest groceries, they don’t normally have groceries. I just thought it was funny that you worried about groceries when it seems like the least of the issues. It was 47 degrees inside.

If it went on long enough to worry about groceries, they would need to be re-homed.

But seriously, as far as generators, wouldn’t I need like 4 of them? It’s 4 different apartments including ours. We’ve got no less than 20 electrical boxes and actually 5 different bills because “the house” has its own electricity. It seems way too complicated to have generator power. It’s not a normal occurence and we are in the middle of the city. If it went on too long the guests should just go somewhere else - I know I am going to :wink:

How does the generator hook up? Does it sound like one generator would do any good? It seems like each boiler would need it’s own at least. It’s 4 different boilers on top of everything else. But if just having one generator would do something, I might consider it.

Does anyone else have generators for their airbnbs? I’ve truly not thought of this.

I have these in both cabins and at home, they claim they will stay on 6 days. I am installing a whole house generator that will power both cabins and my office as soon as I finish another project.


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