Electrical emergencies and outages

If you've lost power or want to report fallen powerlines

General enquiries

For general enquiries, call from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

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Power outage FAQs

While the electricity network can withstand extreme weather conditions, it’ll always be vulnerable to high winds, heavy rain, flooding, lightning and flying debris. All of these can cause power outages and fallen powerlines.

Unplanned power outages

  • What causes unplanned power outages?

    Although we're committed to providing reliable power to our customers, 24 hours a day, unexpected events can cause the power to go out. These can include:

    • Storms or high winds causing powerlines to clash
    • Trees or foliage touching or falling onto powerlines
    • Lightning 
    • Electrical faults
    • Bushfires
    • Vehicle accidents, like a car hitting a power pole
    • Wildlife

    When a power outage happens, we work to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible.

  • Why does my power go on and off momentarily?

    Most powerlines are protected by devices called breakers and reclosers and they work in a similar way to your home’s circuit breakers. They'll cut off power when they detect an ongoing fault (like a fallen powerline).

    These devices also detect momentary faults, like when vegetation falls on a powerline. The device detects this and turns off the power supply. If the vegetation falls clear of the line, the power will turn back on. When this happens, there’s a momentary loss of power (typically less than a few seconds) to customers on that circuit.

  • Why do I have to contact you when the power goes out?

    Our systems help us identify when large numbers of customers are without power, but it doesn't tell us where individual outages occur. It also doesn’t tell us why the power’s out. Your call to us on 132 004 can provide us with more detailed information about the power outage. You can also report your power outage online.

    In some cases, our crews may need to patrol a long section of powerlines to identify the cause. The information you provide us helps us narrow the patrol area and can assist in restoring power sooner.

  • Why can’t you tell me when the power will be restored?

    When an outage happens, our crews don't know how long a job will take to repair until they get on site and assess the cause and damage.  

    It's difficult to accurately predict when a particular customer's power will be restored – especially in the early stages of restoration, when the extent of damage is being assessed.

  • Why does it take so long to restore my power during severe weather?

    During storms, restoration works are scheduled in order of priority:

    • Safety first: for our crew and the public
    • Essential services: restore power to public safety facilities where possible, such as hospitals, nursing homes, police stations and fire stations
    • Proximity to source of power (See more below)
    • Extent of the damage: number of customers affected
    • Business vs residential: which has the greatest impact?

    After storms, power is restored in a sequential manner. Faults closest to the source of power (usually a substation) must be fixed first. Unfortunately, this means customers further away from the substation experience longer outages. This is often the case in rural areas.

    Weather conditions, safety and access

    In some instances during severe weather conditions, it's not safe for our crews to work. Powerline repairs may take longer as crews may need to rely on other services (emergency services, tree trimmers and road clearing crews) before they can start restoration.

    The following conditions and safety issues can delay restoration efforts:

    • Heavy rain, flooding and snowy conditions can impact access to power infrastructure
    • Crews are not allowed to work up power poles if there is lightning (as lightning strikes the highest point)
    • Crews cannot work up power poles or on elevated work platforms in strong winds
    • Our crews can't work in an active fire zone

    Crew fatigue

    Our crews can only work up to 16 hours in a 24-hour period. Crews also have to manage fatigue with meal breaks and driving breaks. 

  • Will I be compensated for my power going out?

    You may be eligible for compensation for loss or damage following an unplanned power outage. If you’ve experienced loss or damage you can make a claim for compensationHowever, please keep in mind extreme events that are outside of our control, such as natural disasters and storms, are not subject to compensation. 

    You may also be entitled to a Guaranteed Service Level (GSL) Scheme payment from us if your power supply doesn't meet certain supply standards. These payments are made automatically; you don't need to do a thing. Find out more about our power supply guarantee.

Planned power outages

  • What should I do before, during and after planned power outages?
    • Don’t perform electrical work during the power outage
    • To protect equipment such as computers and televisions, turn off your main switch (at your switchboard) before the power outage and turn it back on again once the power is back on
    • Your fridge and freezer food items should last up to 12 hours. To avoid food spoiling, keep your fridge and freezer door closed as much as possible during the outage
    • Fill thermoses with hot water for drinks
    • Use portable gas appliances if you have them
    • If you rely on electricity for your home phone, make alternative arrangements such as making sure your mobile phone is fully charged before the outage
    • If you rely on an electric water pump, fill buckets with water for toilet flushing
    • Electrically operated remote-control roller doors will not operate during the outage, so ensure your vehicles are parked outside before the power outage starts
  • How am I notified about planned power outages?

    Whenever planned outages are scheduled we’ll give you at least 4 business days’ notice. The details of planned power outages are sent to affected customers via letterbox drops, mail fliers and newspaper ads. In the event of an emergency, we may not be able to give you adequate notice.

    Call us on 132 004 or view our current power outages for information on current planned outages.

  • Why was my planned power outage cancelled?

    We may have to cancel planned power outages due to unexpected events, such as severe weather.

    We try to let our customers know as soon as possible of any cancelled planned power outages. However, when planned power outages are cancelled due to severe weather and other network emergencies we can't always get this message out in time.