A Network Outage Review is investigating the response to the 13 February 2024 storms that left more than 530,000 electricity customers without power.

Community and stakeholders will have opportunities to participate through public panel meetings or written submissions.

The panel undertook its first consultation with communities and businesses on Saturday 23 March and Sunday 24 March at Mirboo North.

Details of future consultations will be confirmed soon, with updates via energy.vic.gov.au/safety/poweroutages

What the Review is investigating

  • The preparedness of energy distribution companies to respond to extreme weather events
  • Communications with customers, the effectiveness of information platforms and services, such as outage trackers
  • Potential opportunities that could have enabled a more rapid reconnection of customers, such as the availability of field crews and technical expertise through the use of mutual aid agreements and resource sharing within Victoria, or from interstate
  • Distribution businesses' management of the incident, as well as the timely and effective restoration of supply
  • The effectiveness of control room operations and escalation models to manage and direct the response to the event
  • Preparedness to administer the Prolonged Power Outage Payment program and other forms of relief and customer support

The expert panel

The Review's expert panel will be chaired by Rosemary Sinclair, the former chief executive of Energy Consumers Australia, and will include Gerard Brody, the former chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, and Kevin Kehl, an electrical engineer and former executive leader at Powerlink Queensland and Energex.

The panel will make recommendations on the operational response of transmission and distribution businesses, including contingency planning, timely and effective management of the incident, and restoration of supply, including distribution of temporary generators.

The Review will seek input from the Australian Energy Market Operator, Australian Energy Regulator, Energy Safe Victoria, the Essential Services Commission, and other regulators.

What happened?

On February 13, 2024, Victoria experienced a catastrophic storm event that damaged 12,000 km of powerlines and poles across the state’s electricity distribution businesses, causing power outages that impacted more than 500,000 homes and businesses.

As the climate changes, catastrophic events and destructive weather patterns will become more frequent and more extreme and it is critical electricity distribution networks are able to mitigate, manage and recover quickly from these events.

The final scope of the independent review will be given detailed consideration and it will build on the work of the Electricity Distribution Network Resilience Review that followed two storm events in 2021 and focused on the resilience of physical grid infrastructure.

This Review will be undertaken in addition to investigations from Energy Safe Victoria into the tower collapse and the Australia Energy Market Operator into system response and security.

Page last updated: 04/04/24