Stay connected during a power outage

Know your phone's energy requirements, keep a non-cordless phone handy, and help prevent outages

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SAN FRANCISCO — As summer heats up, AT&T and Consumer Action today released tips about what consumers can do to stay in communication during a power outage and urged California consumers to learn ways they can conserve energy this summer. “Learning about your telephone service and your options will help you stay connected to your family and essential services during a power outage or emergency,” said Ken McNeely of AT&T. According to McNeely, it is important for consumers to know what type of voice service they have because traditional landline, voice-over-the-Internet and wireless service may function differently during a power outage and may require electrical power from their house to work. “With more and more choices available to consumers, it’s important to take a moment to make sure you understand how your system will work in a power outage,” said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action.

Consumer Action and AT&T offer these tips for staying connected during a power outage:

Know about your phone service:

  • Traditional landline service: Will typically function in a power outage. If your phone equipment plugs into an electrical outlet, that equipment may not work during a power outage. Consider keeping a simple “corded” phone handy for use during a power outage. Test it in advance.
  • Voice over IP (Internet) service: Requires electrical power at your home to operate. Know your battery backup system and consider keeping a simple “corded” phone handy for use during a power outage. Test it in advance.
  • Wireless service: Length of use on a fully charged battery varies. Keep extra, charged batteries, recharge with your car (in a well-ventilated place) or use a solar or hand-powered charger.

How to prepare for an outage or emergency:

  • Emergency contact lists: Program “In Case of Emergency” contacts into your mobile phone with the label “ICE” so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Print out a family contact sheet, including at least one out-of-area person as a contact point for family members.
  • Radio: Have a battery-powered radio available (with spare batteries).
  • Charged-up mobile phone: Get a mobile phone if you don’t already have one. Keep charged batteries and car, solar- or hand-powered chargers available for your mobile phone.
  • Non-cordless phone: Keep at least one non-cordless phone in your house for use with either traditional landline or Voice over Internet Protocol service. Cordless phones usually have batteries in the handset but not in the base unit and, therefore, typically do not work in an outage.
  • Backup power: Make sure you have a battery backup system for your phone equipment, if applicable, and that you understand how it works, which equipment it powers, and the length of time it will function. Test it regularly. Consider a generator for your house and make sure your communications equipment is connected.
  • Sign up for information: Know your electric utility’s power outage hotlines and websites.

For more information from Consumer Action and AT&T on staying connected during a power outage, click here.

AT&T and Consumer Action also urge consumers to help prevent power outages by learning more about conserving energy. To learn more about ways to reduce your energy usage, visit, an educational and emergency alert program that informs California consumers about how and when to conserve electricity. If you don't live in California, contact either your energy provider at the number on your billing statement or your state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to find out if there is a similar energy "demand response program" for your region.

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About Consumer Action

Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Consumer Action focuses on financial education that empowers low- to moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. Our diverse staff provides expert commentary on key consumer issues supported by solid data. We offer access to victim testimony, as well as expertise on current financial issues affecting underserved populations.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates—AT&T operating companies—are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at and as part of an RSS feed at Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT. © 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. *AT&T is not responsible, nor liable for, any statements, claims, or services provided by third party apps mentioned above or your use of such third party applications.




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