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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.
- 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.
- 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.
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: 18/05/23