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What to do if you've lost power

  • First, check your neighbour's house to see if they have also lost power. If your neighbour has power on, check if your safety switch has been tripped.
  • To report a power outage, contact your electricity distributor or call the Faults and Emergencies number on your most recent electricity bill.
  • Make sure appliances are turned off.
  • Don't try to connect temporary generators to household wiring. Never use a generator inside or attempt to modify extension leads to connect power to household wiring.

Power outages due to storms or bushfire

  • Keep clear of fallen powerlines and keep others away.
  • Be careful with temporary generators.
  • If there has been significant damage to your property, ensure a licensed electrician checks that it is safe to turn your power back on.

Food safety

  • Only open fridge and freezer doors when absolutely necessary – this will keep the food and air temperature colder for longer.
  • Try to keep cold and frozen food at a low temperature. If food is still cold to the touch (less than 5 degrees celsius), it is safe to eat.
  • Consider moving food from the fridge to the freezer.
  • Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch (5 degrees celsius or above), it can be kept and eaten for up to 4 hours. After that, it must be thrown away. Raw meat that has thawed it should be cooked immediately.
  • If power is restored when frozen food is still solid, the food is safe to refreeze.
  • If available, in an extended outage, place an insulating blanket over cold or frozen food or put bagged ice under food packages and trays stored in freezers and fridges.
  • More information about food storage and preparing food is available on the Department of Health website, or call the Food Safety Unit on 1300 364 352

Be a good neighbour

Check and offer support to neighbours and relatives - particularly the elderly and people needing extra care.

Keep the elderly and vulnerable safe

If you need an uninterrupted supply of power because you:

  • are on life support equipment
  • have a medical condition that requires continuous power supply or
  • have any other special needs.

You should:

  • let your electricity retailer (the company you pay for your electricity) know your needs and make sure they have your up-to-date telephone numbers and contact details
  • make sure you have a plan in place in case of prolonged power outages.

Generator safety

Energy Safe Victoria has advice on how to use a portable generator in a power outage event.

  • Use portable generators with care as they pose safety risks, including electrocution, fire, or asphyxiation when not used correctly.
  • Never use portable generators indoors or in enclosed areas. They emit carbon monoxide you can't see or smell and may cause carbon monoxide poisoning and asphyxiation very quickly.
  • Keep the generator:
    • out of dry grass to prevent the exhaust from igniting the grass
    • dry and stored on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure
    • away from rain or wet conditions.
  • Make sure your hands are thoroughly dry before touching a portable generator.
  • Only use heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cords in good condition and rated in watts or amps at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads.
  • Never modify an extension cord to plug into household wiring.

Page last updated: 07/09/22