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Power Outages in Your Home: What to Do and Who to Call

Power outages

Power outages are a part of life and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent them. However, being prepared in case of an electricity or gas emergency or power outage and knowing what to do when one occurs can make them more manageable. Find out how to be prepared for a power outage, who to contact during a power outage, and how to keep yourself safe during an outage, by reading more below and let Selectra help you learn how to manage your electricity and gas.

What do I do if there is a power outage?

Life-threatening emergenciesIf there is any immediate danger to self or property, call emergency services at 000

If you experience a power outage, it’s important to take a few steps to keep yourself, and your home, safe.

  • Avoid any exposed, fallen, or live wires
  • Unplug your appliances, especially sensitive ones like hair dryers, televisions, or computers
  • Use a flashlight, rather than a candle. If there is a gas leak, you don’t want an open flame near you
  • Contact your energy distributor to report the outage

After making sure you’ve unplugged your appliances and found a source of light, you’ll need to find the cause of the power outage in your home. Look to see if the circuit breaker tripped. If it wasn’t the circuit breaker, check and see if your neighbors have power. Also try and make note of any strange noises like a crash or bang, which might indicate something has fallen and caused the outage. Any information you might be able to collect might make it easier for your energy distributor to locate and fix the problem.

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Who to contact in case of a power outage

It’s important to note that while you might purchase your energy from your energy provider, the energy distributor of your network distribution zone is who you should call for emergencies and power outages. Your energy distributor is in charge of maintaining and repairing the energy distribution network. You can find your energy distributor’s emergency number on your latest electricity or gas bill.

Electricity distributors NSW and the ACT
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Endeavour Energy Southern & western metropolitan Sydney 131 003 131 718
Essential Energy Country & regional NSW & some ACT 132 080 132 391
Ausgrid Inner, northern & eastern metropolitan Sydney and surrounds 131 388 131 535
Evoenergy ACT 131 093 132 386
Gas distributors NSW and the ACT
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Central Ranges Pipeline Tamworth 1800 676 300
132 771
131 909
(02) 6761 5522
Jemena Gas Networks (NSW) Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong and parts of country NSW 131 909 1300 137 078
Wagga Wagga Gas Distribution Network (Australia Gas Networks) Wagga Wagga Gas leak: 1800 GAS LEAK
Fault: 1800 898 220
1300 001 001
Evoenergy ACT 131 909 132 386
Electricity distributors QLD
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Ergon Energy (owned by Energy Queensland Limited) Country & regional QLD 132 296 131 046
Energex Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & surrounds Faults: 136 262
Emergencies: 131 962
131 253
Gas distributors QLD
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Allgas Energy South of the Brisbane River, South Coast, Toowoomba & Oakey 1300 763 106 07 3215 6600
Australian Gas Networks (QLD) Queensland Gas leak:
1800 898 220
1300 001 001
Energy distributors SA
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
SA Power Networks (electricity) All of South Australia 131 366 131 261
Australian Gas Networks (SA)(gas) All of South Australia

Gas leak: 1800 GAS LEAK
Fault: 1800 898 220

1300 001 001
Electricity distributors VIC
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Powercor Australia Western suburbs and western Victoria 132 412 132 206
AusNet Services Outer northern and eastern suburbs and eastern Victoria 131 799 1300 360 795
United Energy Distribution Southern suburbs and Mornington peninsula 132 099 1300 131 689
Citipower City and inner suburbs 131 280 1300 301 101
Jemena Northern and north-western suburbs 131 626
SMS service: 0427 840 744
1300 131 871
Gas distributors VIC
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
Multinet Gas Melbourne’s inner and outer east, the Yarra Ranges and South Gippsland 132 691 1300 887 501
Ausnet Services Aberfeldie 136 707 1300 360 795
Australia Gas Networks Merrifield, Heathcote/Wandong Junction, Koo Wee Rup, Mildura Gas leak: 1800 GAS LEAK
Fault: 1800 898 220
1300 001 001
Energy distributors TAS
  Service District Emergency Number General Number
TasNetworks Tasmania 132 004 1300 137 008
Tas Gas Networks Tasmania 1802 111 1800 770 018

Most energy distributors also have a website where they will update those living within their distribution network about planned or known outages, any sort of maintenance they might be performing, and might have an online self-service page that allows you to report any number of problems from your computer.

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Power outage or circuit breaker trip?

Occasionally what you might think is a power outage might actually have been your circuit breaker tripping due to a power surge, in order to protect the wiring in your home from sparking or overheating. If you’re not sure whether a power outage has occurred, you can check the following:

  • Are all the lights and appliances in your house not working?
  • Are the lights at your neighbor's house not working?
  • Are the streetlights or lights from any shops or buildings nearby not working?

If your neighbors and the surrounding area still have power, check the circuit breaker in your house. Otherwise there is probably a disruption to the supply, and you’ll need to contact your electricity or gas distributor.

Be prepared for future outages

Almost all of us rely on a steady energy supply to live, work, and communicate with each other in the modern world.

Without electricity, it can be hard to even contact your energy distributor to report a problem, since landlines and broadband might be down. The good news is that you can easily prepare for future outages, and if you live somewhere where blackouts and outages are the norm, these tips can help make sure your life is uninterrupted if the power goes out.

  • Have a fully-charged portable mobile phone charger where you can easily find it
  • Buy a backup battery or generator to keep important appliances, like your refrigerator, running
  • Keep multiple battery-operated flashlights around the house, as well as spare batteries. Try and have one in every major room of the house, especially by your bed and in the kitchen.
  • Ensure any medical alarms connected to the NBN are registered, you can also ask about battery backup.
  • If you have any medically necessary equipment in the house, speak to your energy provider about the options you might have available to ensure this equipment keeps running
  • Keep some non-perishable foods easily available (along with a mechanical can opener)
  • Make sure important electronics like televisions, computers, and gaming systems are plugged into a surge protector
  • When opening a new energy account, be sure to ask who you need to call in the event of a blackout. This is especially true if you have moved houses as your distributor could change.

What if my power is out because I didn’t pay my energy bill?

It’s a last resort for most energy providers, but disconnections due to not paying your energy bill do happen. Thankfully, Australian Law states that energy retailers have to go through certain steps before disconnecting you for non-payment. Before your home is disconnected, your energy provider must:

  1. Send a reminder to pay any outstanding balance
  2. Send a disconnection warning
  3. Make an attempt to speak with you before disconnecting your residence

There are also certain parameters that your energy provider must work within if they are disconnecting your residence. Electricity or gas disconnections cannot occur:

  • On business days before 8am or after 3pm
  • The day before or the day of a public holiday
  • Between December 20th and December 31st
  • During extreme weather conditions

If you have already been disconnected due to non-payment, or are facing a disconnection, you should first contact your energy provider to ask what your options are.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you might be eligible for government concessions and rebates, for example, or your energy provider might help sort you out with a payment plan and some advice on lowering your energy usage in your home. Also consider signing up for the do not call register to avoid abusive calls from collections agencies and other companies.

If you find your bills are simply too high, once you have paid off your debt to your supplier you can always take a look at switching to a cheaper energy company.


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