The electricity is deadset dead. Again. Power outages can be statewide (South Australia’s 2017 blackout comes to mind) Whatever the reason, power outages are inconvenient and can be dangerous.
– Please note –
Causes of Power Outages
Some of the causes of power outages and blackouts in Australia are:
- Bushfires – In 2007, approximately 200,000 people across the state of Victoria were powerless after bushfires tripped a major transmission line between Victoria and New South Wales.
- Electrical storms – Platinum Electricity recalls, “In September of 2016 we were all reminded that mother nature is still a force to be reckoned with when freak electrical storms shut down almost the entire state of South Australia. Large storms, cyclones and other heavy weather can knock out power poles, damage substations and generally wreak havoc with the electrical grid.”
- Emergency – When a state of emergency is declared, power can also be intentionally cut off as a safety measure.
- Faulty circuit breakers
- Overloaded power boards
- Wildlife – Unfortunately, animals sometimes come in contact with transmission wires or other electrical equipment.
If you haven’t already, plan for surprise blackouts by stocking your home with torches, candles, matches, tinned meal or salad ingredients, and keep handy a list of emergency contact telephone numbers. You can also consider ways to make your home more energy-efficient. Perhaps you should invest in a solar-powered energy source for phones and computers.
What You Can Do
If your home suffers an electrical outage, the first thing to do is to try to find the source. Are nearby neighbours without power? Check the fuse box and if the trip switch is off, you may have a faulty appliance or wiring problems. Ausgrid has a power outages map that shows blackout localations. You can also check use your car’s radio to check for local information. If your neighbours also have a power outage, it’s time to safety-proof your home:
- Clear clutter away from all heaters and cooking appliances; they could be a fire hazard.
- Don’t use candles near a gas stove.
- Keep fridge and freezer doors shut tightly.
- Leave one light switch on (so you will know when power has been restored).
- Make a note of the power outage time so you’ll know exactly how long your refrigerator and freezer were without power. Most foods will be safe longer than you think! Frozen foods can last as long as 2 days. After 2 hours, consider putting refrigerated perishables (poultry, meat, or seafood especially) in the freezer.
- Play games that are fun in the dark!
- Put mobile devices on “low power” mode and turn off unnecessary apps.
- Switch off heaters, appliances, and sensitive electronics (television, computers, hi-fi systems, etc.). Unplug at the wall.
- Use a generator to power directly plugged-in appliances. If you try to connect to your home’s switchboard, you could endanger electric company workers.