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What causes power outages?

Localised power outages can occur for many reasons, including:

  • severe weather such as lightning, floods, heatwaves or high winds
  • trees interfering with powerlines
  • bushfires
  • unexpected technical faults
  • car accidents
  • planned essential maintenance works
  • (rarely) to help balance supply and demand during the peak period.

During extreme weather conditions and on Total Fire Ban days, the risk of localised power outages increases.

To report an outage, contact your electricity distributor or call the faults and emergencies number on your most recent power bill.

Restoring power

This is the responsibility of your local electricity distributor that owns and maintains the poles and wires bringing power to your home.

Preventing power outages

Trees interfering with powerlines are a cause of many easily preventable power outages.

You can help to reduce this risk by regularly checking the size and health of trees growing close to powerlines and contacting your local council or electricity distributor for advice. For more information, visit Energy Safe Victoria.

Planned outages – be prepared

Before doing any essential maintenance, your electricity distributor will notify you in advance of any planned works and outages.

If notified of a planned power outage, prepare by organising:

  • access to a charged mobile phone or landline that doesn't rely on electricity to operate
  • alternative lighting, such as a torch or a battery-operated light
  • alternative cooking facilities and heating
  • access to fresh water.

Before the scheduled time of the power outage, make sure appliances are turned off.

Unexpected power outages

Be prepared and have a plan to manage blackouts. You may need back-up power if you rely heavily on electricity. Don't rely on power as part of any bushfire preparedness plan.

Remember power outages can also affect phones, radios and water pumps. So, arrange for alternatives that don't rely on electricity supply.

Customer compensation

You may be entitled to customer compensation from your electricity distributor if you experience many or long unplanned power outages. Guaranteed service level (GSL) payments are set each year by the Essential Services Commission and differ depending on the outage circumstances. However, there can be circumstances where payments may not be payable.

Go to the Essential Services Commission for current payment rates and when they apply.

Page last updated: 16/09/22