What To Do In A Power Outage. How To Connect Electricity Safely
As with any technology, occasionally your power supply might fail. This can be down to an issue in any stage of the electricity supply chain, from the power stations, the transmission lines, transformers and poles and cables on your street.
A power outage can result in anything from a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening situation.
This page will teach you what to do if your power is out.
What causes power outages?
With a vast network of poles and power lines spanning thousands of kilometres, there’s plenty that can go wrong!
|Causes of power outages
|These are scheduled outages that happen when the distributor needs to take the power offline in a certain area to perform routine maintenance of the network.
When an interruption to your power supply is planned, you will be given at least three days’ notice from the distributor, so that you’re not caught by surprise.
|The technology that makes up the electricity network, as with all technology, can sometimes fail. This might be due to the age of the equipment, a power surge or an unforeseen failure.
|Unfortunately, vandals targeting transformers can cause widespread outages and expensive damage to the network.
|Australia’s extreme weather is tough on technology. Even though the network has been designed to withstand the weather, extreme heat, storms, floods and bushfires can cause faults with fallen power lines or damage to power poles and transformers.
|Fallen trees and branches
|Overgrown or damaged trees can cause damage to power lines or poles, leading to power cuts in the local area.
|Animals nesting or making a home can be quite destructive. They can chew through wires and cause a lot of chaos for the network.
|Car crashes and accidents can damage power poles or transformers leading to localised power outages.
|Power station failure
|Although uncommon, a failure at the energy source can lead to widespread outages. This happened in Queensland in 2021 when an explosion at the Callide C Power Station led to state-wide blackouts for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
How to report a power outage
The process for reporting a power outage depends on the cause and level of danger involved. If in doubt, report it immediately using the distributor’s emergency number.
If the situation is life-threatening, call 000 immediately.
If you have lost power in your home, you should check if other lights and devices are working, check if your neighbours have power, and check for any planned outages on your distributor’s network before you ring the emergency number.
|Timeline for reporting a power outage
|If the outage was planned (check your distributor’s website) there is no need to report it.
|Faulty street light
|If you notice a non-urgent problem, you can lodge a report on your distributor’s website or call their non-urgent contact number.
This issue will then be prioritised and the distributor will attend to it in due course.
|Graffiti on electricity assets
|Emergencies, faults and hazards
|No or partial power
|If the emergency is life-threatening, you should immediately call 000.
If you witness a fallen powerline, you should always assume that it is live and stay a safe distance away – at least 10 metres. Immediately ring the emergency number for your distributor. A live powerline can be fatal, so under no circumstances should you go near it.
For all other emergencies, faults or hazards, call your distributor using the emergency contact number as soon as it is safe to do so.
Your distributor will advise you of the next steps and either resolve the problem remotely if possible or send out the relevant team to fix the issue.
|Damage to the overhead or underground power lines, transformer or other power equipment
|Fallen or low-hanging power lines
|Traffic light outage
|Other dangerous situations
Contact your electricity distributor
You can find the contact details for your electricity distributor on your latest bill. Each distributor has a separate number for general inquiries and emergencies, so make sure you use the number relevant to your situation.
You can also use the table below to find the emergency number for each distributor.
|SA Power Networks
|Power and Water
|1800 245 090
To stay up to date with planned outages and the status of unplanned outages, you can sign up for SMS alerts on your distributor’s website, or check the outage map using the links in the table above.
Tips to manage a power outage in your home
Take a look at these handy tips to get through an outage with ease.
- Have a ‘survival kit’ including a torch and batteries ready in case of an unplanned outage.
- For planned outages:
- Charge all your devices
- Set up a hotspot to stay connected
- Prepare your fridge – put it on to the lowest setting and keep the doors closed until the power is back on
- Learn how to manually open your electric garage door
- Set up a backup battery for alarm systems
- Pre-cool your rooms
- Unplug your devices or use surge protectors to prepare for unplanned blackouts
- If you have life support or critical medical devices in your home, make sure a backup generator or battery is prepared. You should notify your electricity provider so they can register your equipment and make sure you are prepared for an outage
- Stay at least 10 metres away from fallen or hanging power lines
- If your lights are flickering, don’t touch your fuse box, or anything metal in your home
- Turn off power points if it is safe to do so
- If you receive a shock or tingles from any appliance, make sure no one else touches them and call an emergency electrician to check your wiring
- If your neighbour’s power is back on but yours isn’t, or if only some of your power has returned, check your fuse box
- If any appliances have been damaged by the outage, call a licenced electrician
- Reset all your devices
- If you have solar power, make sure it is back online
If you have any further questions about what to do in a power outage, you can either contact your power supplier or call our moving utilities services on 1300 786 045. Our team are experts in energy and are happy to answer any of your questions.
We can also help you arrange a new electricity connection, compare energy plans from Australia’s leading energy retailers to save money in your home or business and connect electricity and gas. We can even find you the perfect power supplier for solar power and great deals on NBN, 5G and Pay TV Australia.
Getting in touch is easy – either call 1300 786 045 or enter your details online to connect now.