Why does the power go out?
Although we're committed to providing reliable power to customers, 24 hours a day, unexpected events can cause the power to go out. They include:
Storms or high winds causing powerlines to clash
Trees or foliage touching or falling onto powerlines
Lightning striking powerlines
Car accidents, such as a car hitting a power pole
Whatever its cause, when an outage occurs, we work to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible.
Why do I have to call you when the power goes out? Can’t you tell that my power is out?
Our technology helps us identify when large numbers of customers are without power, but it doesn't tell us where individual outages occur. Our technology also doesn’t tell us why the power is out. Your call to us on 132 004 can provide us with more detailed information about the outage.
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.
During major outages and severe weather events, our phone lines may become congested. We ask for your patience during this time and will respond to your call as soon as we can.
Why can't you tell me exactly when my power will be restored?
When an outage occurs, our crews don't know how long a job will take to repair until they get on site and assess the damage. This is the case when there is widespread damage from a severe storm.
It's difficult to accurately predict when a particular customer's power will be restored - especially in the early phases of restoration, when the extent of damage is being assessed.
Outages during severe weather: why is it taking so long to restore my power?
Storm restoration: our priorities
In major unplanned outages we are unable to restore power to everyone at the same time.
After storms, power is restored in a sequential manner, e.g. faults closest to the source of power (substation) must be fixed first. Unfortunately, this may mean customers further away from the source experience longer outages. This is often the case in rural areas.
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 (as per statement above)
Extent of the damage: number of customers affected
Business vs residential: which has the greatest impact?
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, road clearing crews) before they can start restoration efforts.
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 cannot work in an active fire zones
Our crew’s health and safety is a top priority and therefore 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.
Why does my power sometimes go on and off momentarily?
Most distribution powerlines are protected by special devices called breakers and reclosers and they work in a similar way to household circuit breakers. They'll cut off power when they detect an ongoing fault (such a fallen powerline).
These devices also detect momentary faults – for example – when foliage falls on a powerline, the device will detect this and turn off the power supply. If the foliage falls clear of the line, which often happens, the line will re-energise. When this occurs, there is a momentary loss of power (typically less than a few seconds) to customers on that circuit.
If I have solar panels, what do I need to do after an outage?
We recommend you check to ensure their solar system has been restored after any planned or unplanned outage. Not all solar inverters switch back on automatically after an outage.