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Tips and advice

We understand that it is never convenient for you to be without power, so we have included some useful information to keep you safe and limit inconvenience.

A little planning goes a long way

At AusNet Services we're working hard to make the electricity netword safe and reliable. Extreme heat, storm events and high demand all put the grid under greater pressure. We plan ahead for summer to make our network as reliable as possible. But outages will still happen.

Preparing for an outage as a life-support customer

If you rely on continuous power supply for life support equipment, the information provided in this section is designed to help you.

Life support equipment is equipment that is powered by electricity or gas, that your medical practitioner certifies is required for you. The most common types of life support equipment are: 

  • Oxygen concentrator
  • Intermittent peritoneal dialysis machine
  • Kidney dialysis machine
  • Ventilator for life support

More information can be found in Schedule 10 of the Energy retail code at www.esc.vic.gov.au.

  • Register as a life support customer
    If you or someone living at your address needs power to operate life support equipment, make sure you register your home. You can do this directly with your energy retailer, or through us.
    For more information on how to register, click here.
  • Stay informed
    • If we plan to do upgrades or maintenance work that affects your power supply, we’ll notify you at least four business days prior to the interruption advising of the date, time and duration so you can plan around it.
    • If you want to check on the progress of an outage, visit our outage tracker for updates.
    • Like or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for information during power outages or storms.
  • Have an action plan ready to go

    Not all power interruptions are planned. Unplanned interruptions can and do occur, so it’s important that you have a plan in place in case your power is interrupted.

    Here are some tips to help you prepare:

    Before an outage

    • Regularly check that the back-up battery of your life support equipment is fully charged and ready for use.
    • If you have reserve oxygen cylinders make sure they are filled and working.
    • Check to make sure that your medical supplies are fully stocked.
    • Make sure you can open your garage or leave your home if the power goes out.
    • Make sure your phone is fully charged. Remember, some phones (cordless) only work with electricity.
    • Discuss what you will do if you do not have power with your medical practitioner.
    • Consider what additional measures you may need to take in relation to the current COVID-19 isolation restrictions.

     

    During a power outage

    • If possible, arrange to visit a friend, family member or hospital when the power is out.
    • Ask a neighbour to check on you during the outage.
    • Keep all important phone numbers handy for example your doctor, the nearest hospital, the local taxi service, and AusNet Services emergency number 13 17 99.
  • Record important phone numbers
    • General enquiries: 1300 360 795, 8am to 5pm weekdays.
    • Life support line: 1800 818 832, 24 hours a day.
    • Urgent enquiries: 13 17 99, 24 hours a day.
    • Interpreter service: 13 14 50.

    If you believe you have a life-threatening situation, please call 000.

Preparing for an outage as a residential customer

Make sure you have a plan ready to go if the power goes out. The tips below will help reduce the impacts on you and your family and keep you safe.

Once you have ensured your own safety, look after those around you who may be vulnerable.

Before an outage

  • Emergency kit and battery operated devices
    Put together an emergency kit in an easy to access place and let everyone know where it is. As a start you should have battery operated devices such as a radio to receive important information in the event of an outage and a torch. Make sure you keep spare batteries in there too!
  • Lights
    Keep at least one light on in the house so you know when your electricity is back on.
  • Alarms

    Will your alarm system automatically re-start when power is restored? If your system has temporary back-up batteries, how long will work for?

    Consult your instruction manual or contact your alarm installer or manufacturer for more information.

  • Mobile phones
    Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and you have a spare charge pack on hand for an outage situation.

During an outage

  • Electric gates, doors and garages
    Some systems have an override (key or lever) to allow manual operation during a power outage. Others have battery backup and will continue to operate for a short time. Check your user manual or contact the manufacturer for instructions.
  • Generators
    Use generators with extreme caution. They should and only to power appliances directly plugged into them. Do not connect the output to the house switchboard or wiring as this can cause a safety risk for our people.
  • Electrical equipment
    You can help protect sensitive electrical and electronic equipment by switching them off and unplugging them. This may include computers and audio visual equipment. If any of your computers has an auto-save function, consider how frequently it operates.
    Also, switch off stove hotplates, ovens and any other small appliances in case you’re not home when the power is restored.
  • Food safety
    Food safety considerations are important during power outages. Avoid opening your fridge or freezer while the power is off.
    Click here for more information from the Victorian Government on food safety during power outages.

After an outage

  • Stay safe
    Stay away from any fallen powerlines or trees lying across powerlines. Call us on 13 17 99 to report any damage.
  • Check appliances
    Have a look at the appliances around your house to make sure they are all working correctly.
    If you experience loss or damage related to an unplanned power outage, you may be eligible to claim compensation from us. Take a look at this compensation factsheet which explains the process and how claims are assessed.
    You can apply for compensation here.
  • Check on your neighbours
    Reach out to any neighbours, particularly those who are vulnerable, to see if that are ok or need assistance.

Preparing for an outage as a business customer

There’s never a convenient time to experience a power outage. To reduce the impact on your operations, here are some tips to keep your business running safely.

  • Emergency plan
    Put together an emergency plan that you will follow in the event of an unplanned outage. As a start, keep an emergency kit somewhere easy to locate that contains battery operated devices such as a radio to receive important information in the event of an outage and a torch. Make sure you keep spare batteries in there too!
  • Prepare your people
    Make sure your teams review procedures in case of an outage including continuing or stopping work, security protocols and alternate evacuation routes if elevators are not working.
  • Back up equipment
    If you have backup battery or generator operation systems, check them regularly to ensure they are fully functional.
    If your elevators are connected to an alternate power supply, verify the maximum number of elevators that can run without overloading the generator.
  • Generation
    We understand that in the event of a planned outage on the network, you may need to keep your operations going by arranging an alternative source of power e.g. diesel generation.
    If you are organising to have a generator wired into the circuit, please let us know as soon as possible so we can take the necessary steps to make sure it is safe for our field teams to work.
    You do not need to inform us if you are using smaller scale generation to power up individual appliances. Just remember to use generators with extreme caution and stay safe.
  • Electrical equipment
    You can help protect sensitive electrical and electronic equipment by switching them off and unplugging them.
    Back up your computer files frequently or ensure the autosave function is on so that you do not lose any important work.

Preparing for an outage in extreme weather

We’re working hard to make the electricity network safe and reliable. Extreme heat, storm events and high demand all put the network under greater pressure. Outages will happen, so it is important we’re all power prepared. A little bit of panning goes a long way.

Check out our simple tips below to stay safe and prepare for outages in extreme weather.

 

Storm tips

If you live in an area prone to storms, we recommend having a plan to help you minimise risk and take action in the event of storm damage or a power outage. Some factors to consider before, during and after a storm are provided below. Alternatively, take a look at our Preparing for Storms brochure.

  • Before a storm
    • Fully charge your mobile phone.
    • Keep a battery-operated radio and torch on hand (as well as spare batteries).
    • Ensure you know how to manually open your electric garage door.
    • Keep trees close to private electricity lines regularly pruned by a qualified contractor.
    • Turn your fridge to a cooler setting to help keep food colder for longer during an outage.
    • Adjust the ‘autosave’ function on your computer for more frequent back-up of important documents.
  • During a storm
    • Stay away from fallen powerlines.
    • Report any faults you identify to us 24 hours a day on 13 17 99.
    • Do not use damaged or wet appliances.
    • Do not use a landline phone during a storm – this can result in an electric shock.
    • Listen to a battery-operated radio for weather and power updates.
    • Turn all power points off at the wall during an outage and leave one light on to alert you when power is restored.
  • After a storm
    • Contact an electrical contractor to inspect and repair any damage, then call us on 13 77 99 to have your power restored.
    • Take extra care around your switchboard, particularly if it’s outdoors – wear synthetic or rubber-soled shoes to reduce your chance of electric shock.
    • Continue to listen to a battery-operated radio for weather and power updates.
    • Alert your neighbours of any potential danger.
    • Do not connect a portable generator to your wiring unless an electrical contractor has installed an isolating switch.
    • Do not swim in floodwaters – live wiring or fallen powerlines may be in or around the water.
    • Contact the Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) on 13 25 00, or your local council, if you require emergency relief or support.

Bushfire tips

During a bushfire, you may experience interruptions to your electricity and/or gas supply, even if your property isn’t directly affected. For example the CFA or MFB may disconnect your electricity and/or gas to fight a bushfire, or to prevent other fires from starting.

Reconnection of electricity in a bushfire event may take several hours or even days, depending on the time it takes to access the area, conduct repairs and ensure safety. This means that your bushfire plans should factor in a possible loss of gas and electricity.

  • Bushfire plans
    • Establish a bushfire plan and be clear about when to leave. You can contact your local community fireguard or CFA to assist with your bushfire plan.
    • Install an alternative water supply and back-up generator to pump water.
    • Keep a mobile phone handy and try to ensure the battery is fully charged.
    • Ensure you have access to battery-operated torches, radios and spare batteries.
    • Review your plan each year and check all related equipment on a regular basis.