Power outages: Your FAQs answered

There are many causes for power outages in your local area. This can be a confusing and stressful time, but don’t worry! We are here to give you an easy FAQ guide to prepare you for what needs to be done should you experience a power outage in your home. 

Who do I need to contact?

If you experience a blackout, it’s important to contact your local distributor. Your energy distributor is the company that owns and operates the poles, wires and grid that provide your home with energy. Your distributor’s determined by where you live so you don’t get to choose them – unlike your energy retailer (Origin).

Your local distributor can provide info about the cause of the outage and will likely be able to provide you with an estimated time when the power will be restored in your area.

How do I find my energy distributor?

Some postcodes have several distributors. If you see more than one listed you can confirm which one services your area by looking at your bill. Their number will be listed under ‘Faults and Emergencies’.

If you don’t have your bill handy, we’ve got you covered. Just pop your postcode into our Distributor Look-up Tool and we’ll tell you who your distributor is.

My power’s out, what do I do?

Your number one priority during a power outage is to stay safe.

Be energy safe

Be careful not to burn yourself when using candles and other open flames for light, and keep naked flames away from any flammable materials.

Food safety

Try to keep your cold and frozen food cold by moving it all to the freezer and only opening the freezer and fridge when necessary to keep it as cold as possible. 

It’s generally recommended that food can be kept and eaten for up to 4 hours and then it must be thrown away or, if it’s raw meat, cooked and eaten. When your power’s restored, if your frozen food is still solid, the food should be safe to refreeze – but approach this on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions, contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 364 352. 

In the event of an extended power outage, you may be eligible for a credit to reimburse you for spoiled goods. Your local distributor will be able to advise whether you’re eligible for this.

Take care of one another

If you have neighbours or relatives that may have special needs (such as the elderly or those with a disability), be supportive. Check up on them to make sure they’re safe and provide assistance where you can.

If a neighbour or relative has life support, and their supply has been affected, help assist them to the nearest hospital if safe to do so. If it’s not safe, reach out to the ambulance service by calling triple zero (000).

What if a natural disaster or emergency is occurring?

If a flood or bushfire has caused a power outage in your home, you need to act appropriately.

If you’re experiencing flooding or wild weather

Floods or storms

If you’re impacted by flooding or a damaging storm, your best point of contact is your State Emergency Service (SES):

Electricity and natural gas supplies are often disconnected during bushfires for safety reasons. Contact your local distributor to get an update on whether a disconnection has occurred.

If you’re in a high-risk location for a bushfire, contact your state fire service:

If you have any further questions, our Emergencies page can give you tips about what to do in the case of bushfires and floods.

What will happen to my solar system?

When you initially connect your solar system to the network, you need to abide by the network’s connection standard. This means the inverter must follow grid operation. So if the grid’s down the inverter needs to, and will, shut down automatically.

This is because linesmen may be harmed when repairing faulty electricity wires travelling back into the grid from your solar system. After the repairs have been made, your solar power system will automatically turn on during daylight hours. If you have a battery backup system connected to your solar system, then depending on the wiring, some internal services like your fridge could still be operated by the batteries.

I have an electric garage door, what should I do?

Many garage doors feature a manual release function to bypass the opening mechanism during power outages, so don’t fear. To activate this, depending on your door, there will be a short rope hanging down that usually ends with a red, T-shaped handle. Pull this cord to release the door from the drive chain or belt. 

Pulling this cord will allow you to manually raise your garage door. When power comes back on, you may have to manually reset your garage door’s automatic opening system. If you have any issues, contact your garage door installer.

Have any more questions?

If you want to learn more about power outages, how this might affect your home or how to be better prepared, we recommend visiting your local distributors website.  

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