February 10, 2017

With extreme heat forecast this week, EnergyAustralia suggests residents should be prepared for the possibility of power outages.

“The high levels of electricity demand driven by extreme heat place the network under significant stress, increasing the chances of network outages,” said EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer Kim Clarke.

“Your best source of information for power outages in your area is your electricity distributor. 

“If you’re an EnergyAustralia customer and have any difficulty identifying the distributor in your area you can be guided by our find a distributor feature on our website.

“Some people have access to batteries systems, however for most of us that don’t there are some small things you can do to stay connected. I would recommend:

  • Always have torches and batteries available
  • Ensure your mobile, and laptops if you have them, are fully charged
  • Invest in portable mobile and laptop battery chargers
  • And in the case of extended outages, think about your safety

“The ‘four hour/two hour rule’ is a good guide for foods between five and 60 degrees celsius such as meat, poultry, seafood and ready-to-eat perishable food.

“If the power outage is less than two hours you should refrigerate the food in alternative cold storage or use immediately; between two and four hours use immediately; and throw away if greater than four hours.

“In the case of widespread, disruptive outages, ABC local radio will provide emergency information. 

“Of course, if you lose power in your home, a network outage isn’t the only explanation. If you’ve had a number of appliances on to keep cool, your own safety switch or circuit breaker may have tripped.

“If resetting a safety switch, turn off your appliances first to avoid immediately tripping the switch again.

“And to reduce the chances of overloading your switchboard in the first place, take all the steps you can to reduce your reliance on cooling appliances. This includes pulling down any awnings over windows and closing blinds and curtains.

“And always prioritise your own safety. Never DIY; electrical faults should always use be managed by licensed electrical professionals. 

“Those on life support should action their power outage action plan as developed with a medical practitioner, and to create one if you haven’t already.

“Other useful tips include investing in a backup generator. If the power outage is not widespread you could relocate somewhere with electricity, perhaps with a relative or friend, until power has been restored in your area.   

“In this case we again suggest contacting your distributor for guidance on how long the power outage may last. Your situation will be treated as priority.

“Please call 000 if the power outage persists and you require your life support equipment,” Kim Clarke says.