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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 after an emergency

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

  • You must use a licensed tradesperson for gas or electric work following the effects of a flood or fire.
  • Following storm or fire damage, you should have a licensed electrician check wiring and repair any electrical damage before you reconnect power or switch on appliances. A licensed gasfitter will check gas appliances.
  • You must use a licensed tradesperson for gas or electric work following the effects of a flood or fire.

For more information, visit energy safety during floods

Using generators

  • Get help from a licensed electrician to connect a generator.
  • You must not connect generators to the wiring of your home or perform any other electrical work. It is both illegal and dangerous. Licensed electricians can only carry out this work.

Floods and storms

Floodwater damage to your home's electrical circuitry, gas installations or appliances can threaten safety.

  • Your energy distributor can advise you on how to get back up and running.
  • You should call a licensed electrician to inspect your home or building after flood damage.
  • Water affected gas appliances should not be used until inspected by a licensed gasfitter.

Fallen powerlines

Following an emergency, powerlines may still be live and can be fatal. Please follow these precautions.

  • Stay well clear of fallen powerlines or anything they may be touching.
  • Call your local electricity distributor – or the faults and emergencies number on your most recent electricity bill.
  • Do not attempt to remove or prune trees that have fallen on powerlines.

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 managing trees near powerlines on 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.

If your power goes out, your energy distributor will arrange for it to be restored.

Find your energy distributor online or call 136 186.

Reporting a safety issue

Report safety issues to your energy distributor. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you can contact Energy Safe Victoria at 9203 9700.

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 website for current payment rates and when they apply.

Page last updated: 18/05/23