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Can Lightning Cause A Power Outage?

Mar 2, 2021

There are three things we can count on living in Missouri: the sun will rise in the east, set in the west, and Mother Nature will always throw us curve balls. The unpredictable weather that we experience in the Midwest is a time-honored spring tradition and the reason we celebrate Severe Weather Awareness Week on March 1-5.

Of the many types of severe weather with the potential to cause power outages like tornados and torrential downpours, lightning also has the capability to cause outages.

Each lightning strike is unique. Our system is designed with some lightning protections, but sometimes a particularly powerful lightning strike can be too much for some equipment, causing it to fail.

Even though there is electricity in the power lines, the system is designed to work at a certain voltage. A sudden spike of electricity from a lightning strike can add too much voltage to the system causing equipment to respond quickly to avoid further damage, or fail which will cause an outage.

The best thing you can do to keep your family safe in the event of a power outage is to prepare before inclement weather strikes. Here are some easy tips that you can check off now:

Keep Outage Reporting Information Accessible. If you experience a power outage, report your outage by calling 1-888-863-9001 or online at To help expedite your outage reporting experience, take a moment now to ensure the phone number in your account is current. You can update your phone number by calling customer service at 417-863-9000 or online by logging in to your account at

Create a Plan. Have an evacuation plan ready and make sure everyone in your family knows the plan.

Make an Emergency Kit. Include items like flashlights, batteries, weather radio, water, non-perishable food, medicines, First Aid supplies, blankets, and anything else that you think your family would need in an emergency. Add in a copy of this brochure to remind you of these safety tips.

Know the Location of Your Community Shelter. If you need to go to a shelter, bring your emergency kit, remain calm and be patient.

Listen for Information. During an extended disaster, public officials will use radio, television and local newspapers to keep you informed. In case of an electrical outage, battery- or crank-operated equipment is necessary.

Stay Away from Downed Utility Lines. Stay away from all utility lines brought to the ground by storms. You never know when there is electricity running through a power line until it is too late. If you see a power line down, stay at least 10 feet away and call us with the location.

Check your generator. We have a whole post about generator safety here. Help us help you in the event of an emergency and read our safety tips before you install a generator or have an electrician check out the installation of your current generator.

Being prepared is the best safety measure you can take for your family during the unpredictable weather that spring always sends our way. If your power goes out, you can let us know by calling 1-888-863-9001 or online at