Planned and unplanned outages, what do they mean?

Some power outages are pre-planned for necessary maintenance works and upgrades. Some outages are caused by unexpected damage to the network.

The biggest difference between a planned and unplanned outage is whether or not you get advanced notification. Here’s more information about why we plan outages and what happens duringan unplanned outage .

Planned outages

We sometimes need to turn the power off so we can safely carry out inspections, maintenance, replacements and upgrades on our electricity network. This makes our network more resilient and helps to reduce the chance of unexpected outages. You will get a letter at least four business days’ notice before the planned outage. To update how we communicate with you about planned outages, call 1300 360 795

We have a lot of infrastructure to maintain. We own almost 50,000 kilometres of powerlines that feed electricity to 668,000 properties across a 80,000 square kilometre area in Melbourne’s north, east and across eastern Victoria. In an average year:

  • we maintain and upgrade our existing network of more than 417,000 power poles, which services over 750,000 customers
  • we support communities by adding new powerlines and underground cables to our existing 52,000 kms of powerlines and cables
  • we upgrade infrastructure to enhance and improve the reliability of our network
  • we connect around 20,000 new customers to the grid and extend the network to support increased demand.
  • It’s a lot, and our team aims to bundle this work together where possible. We do this to minimise the impact of planned outages on a community.

Unplanned outages

Unplanned outages are unexpected and can last for hours and even days during severe weather events. Unplanned outages can happen for a variety of reasons but are usually caused by network damage from severe weather, fallen branches and trees, animals coming into contact with powerlines and cars crashing into power poles.

As soon as we’re aware of an unplanned outage, our crews work on fixing it quickly and safely. Read more about how we prioritise getting the power back on.

Because unplanned outages are unexpected, we cannot give you advanced notice like we do with planned outages. Instead, we can send you regular SMS and/or email updates during the outage about when we think our crew can get the power back on. Read about all the ways we can keep our customers updated during an unplanned outage in our article Finding the information you need during an unplanned outage.

Telling the difference between a planned and unplanned outage on Outage Tracker

Our Outage Tracker is an interactive website that is updated every minute to show you all current planned and unplanned outages in our electricity distribution network. Simply look for the key on the map to identify which outages are planned and which ones are unplanned.