Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Our Customer Charter might answer your question. Otherwise, see if we address your enquiry below.

 

What should I do when the power goes out? Return To Top

While we strive to provide a constant, uninterrupted supply, there are instances when, despite our best efforts, you may experience unplanned interruptions to your power supply. These interruptions may be due to motor vehicle accidents, birds and possums on the lines, or severe weather conditions such as damaging winds, lightning or extreme heat. Whatever the cause, we are committed to restoring your power as quickly and as safely as possible.

It's a good idea to be prepared for a power interruption at home or at work - here are some handy tips so you can always be prepared:

  • Always have a torch with charged batteries handy, and be sure to use candles carefully to avoid starting a fire.
    A refrigerator will keep food cold longer if you do not open the door. Resist the temptation to open it to check the contents. This particularly applies to your freezer.
  • If the weather is hot, keep young children and frail elderly people inside the house and take appropriate precautions for a heatwave, such as drinking plenty of water and using hand-held fans to circulate air.
    Consider the option of visiting relatives or friends who have power, or go to a public place with air conditioning.
  • Remember that although the water supply may not be affected, if your home has an electric hot water system and you keep using it, the water will simply go cold. Consider this if you anticipate a long wait before power is restored.If water supply is from tanks or a bore then alternatives to the normal electrical pressure pump should be investigated.
  • If driving at night during a power interruption, be aware that street lights and traffic lights may not be operating so take extra care.
  • At the office, don't use the lifts. If you get stuck in a lift that has stopped because of a power interruption, follow the emergency procedures advice. There is often a telephone inside the lift for this purpose.
  • Check that electrical appliances such as stoves and heaters are switched off as there is a risk of fire when electricity supply is restored if these are left unattended.
  • Make sure that all taps are turned off if you use an electrical pressure pump. This will prevent flooding if supply is restored when you are not home.
  • If an interruption has lasted for a long time, food in the freezer may have started to thaw. Consider whether to keep it or dispose of it.

How do I report a power interruption? Return To Top

You can contact SA Power Networks Faults and Emergencies service by phone 13 13 66, or online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the following:

  • to report a dangerous or life-threatening situation, such as broken wires or poles down;
  • to access information on any power interruptions in your area; and
  • to report loss of power supply, or electricity supply problems.

Before picking up the phone, we ask that you:

  • Check your household safety switch
    Check that the switch is still turned to the 'on' position. If it is off, you can reset it. If the switch continues to trip, the fault is within your premises and you may need to contact an electrician to rectify it.
  • See if your neighbours have power
    This will help you determine if the fault is isolated to your own home or is more widespread.
  • Check if there an obvious cause for the interruption, such as a broken wire
    Broken lines or wires are a safety risk. Do not approach the wire and report it immediately using our emergency number.
  • Metropolitan customers: have your National Meter Identifier (NMI) handy
    You can find this number on your electricity account. It will help us to promptly identify your location.

How can I keep informed about a power interruption in my area? Return To Top

SA Power Networks Fault Reporting service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We provide clear, comprehensive and accurate information on the location and reason for power interruptions and, where available, an estimated time of power restoration. If we are aware of the fault affecting your area, unless you have further information that may assist us in locating the fault, there is no need to wait to speak to a member of our team.

If your power is not restored by the estimated time advised, or you are seeking more information, you can access our easy-to-use messaging system at any time by calling 13 13 66. Or you could visit the current interruptions page of our website with your mobile phone to access up-to-date information.

During periods of prolonged or widespread power interruptions, we will broadcast updates on your local ABC radio station. 

What causes power interruptions?  Return To Top

While we strive to provide a constant, uninterrupted supply, there are instances when, despite our best efforts, you may experience unplanned interruptions to your power supply.

Power interruptions can be caused by weather (high winds, heavy rain and lightning), vegetation or animals coming into contact with lines, human interference (deliberate and accidental), equipment failure, or planned area outages required to carry out repairs or improvements to the network.

Human interference includes motor vehicle collisions with stobie poles, accidental digging up of underground lines and vandalism. Equipment failure can result from wear and tear, corrosion or the breakdown of insulation. Animal interference can happen anywhere, but is particularly prevalent in certain parts of the State, such as the Adelaide Hills.

What is load shedding and how is SA Power Networks involved? Return To Top  

From time to time, SA Power Networks is directed by the national electricity market operator to conduct load shedding, which involves half-hour power outages on a rotational basis across metropolitan Adelaide. Load shedding is conducted in order to alleviate pressure on the national electricity network in times of peak demand.

When we are instructed to shed load, we will announce all suburbs affected on our website and through the media, in particular ABC radio, which is the State's emergency broadcaster. 

Why do I experience momentary power interruptions?  Return To Top

An important part of our electricity network system is 'automatic reclose' which allows us to automatically restore electricity supply to customers following a transient fault (a short-term supply interruption) with powerlines. For instance, this occurs when a tree branch brushes or falls across a powerline or a bird contacts the powerline.

The interruption caused by this technology is normal and has reduced what was once a significant outage to only 3-10 seconds.

Momentary power interruptions mean I have to reset my clock and microwave. Can anything be done to prevent this?  Return To Top

Unfortunately these irritating interruptions to clocks and other programmable devices can't be avoided. It is currently part of the technological sacrifice to prevent longer power outages.

Many electronic devices do come with battery back up which allow them to 'ride through' such short-term interruptions. When purchasing electronic equipment like DVD players and digital clocks or radios, you may want to source products with this feature.

Another option is to purchase an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This is a device that protects your computer and other valuable equipment from data errors and damage caused by power problems. When an interruption occurs, your UPS will automatically begin supplying power to your computer system through its internal battery, allowing you time to save your valuable data. When a power problem such as a sag, surge, or brown-out occurs, your UPS protects your computer using a feature called AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation). This feature ensures that the voltage supplied to your computer is always within limits.

These devices are suitable for computers, inkjet/dot matrix printers, scanners, modems, hubs/routers/switches, answering machines and telephones, stereo/hi-fi systems - and even your desk lamp. 

What causes my lights and other appliances to dim?  Return To Top

Dim lights are usually the result of low voltage caused by a fault on the network. However, lights may dim momentarily due to electric motors within large appliances in your home cycling in and out. If these dips in power continue for more than a few seconds, we recommend that you disconnect your electrical appliances and notify us on 13 13 66. Once the power supply is returned to normal, you can reconnect those appliances.

I have a solar-powered system. What sort of meter do I need?Return To Top

If you have a solar-powered system in your home you will need a special solar import/export meter that will replace your former SA Power Networks meter. For single-phase power, view the single-phase solar import/export meter brochure or for three-phase power, see three-phase solar import/export meter brochure.

What is an electricity retailer?Return To Top

Your retailer sells you electricity and bills you for it. SA Power Networks is not an electricity retailer - we are South Australia's electricity distributor, responsible for operating the distribution network that delivers power to your home or business. See retailers for more information.

I'm moving into an established home, can SA Power Networks organise my new connection and disconnection? Return To Top

Connecting and disconnecting power to established homes can only be organised through your electricity retailer.

How can I establish or upgrade an existing connection?Return To Top

To establish a new connection for a new home, or upgrade your existing connection, complete the Application for Connection, Alteration and Removal of Supply (Form A). You may need assistance from your electrician or electrical contractor. Send the completed form to your retailer, who will advise SA Power Networks to connect you to the network or upgrade your connection. We will install, adjust, maintain and read your meter (four times a year), and maintain the junction box and wiring leading from your home to the network. 

How can I report a street light fault?Return To Top

To report a faulty street light, complete our online Report a Street Light Out form or call SA Power Networks on 1800 676 043.

We aim to repair faulty street lights for which we are responsible within five (5) working days in the Adelaide metropolitan and CBD area, Whyalla, Mount Gambier, Mount Barker, Gawler, Stirling, Murray Bridge, Port Augusta, Willunga, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln, and ten (10) working days elsewhere, from the date on which the fault comes to our attention.

Why does SA Power Networks trim vegetation?Return To Top

Tree trimming around powerlines is a regulatory requirement that is carried out to minimise the risks of electric shock, power interruptions and bushfires in high-risk areas.

Property owners/occupiers are responsible for the clearance of all vegetation on their property around their private supply lines, except naturally occurring, non-nurtured vegetation. This includes vegetation overhanging from a neighbouring property. SA Power Networks is responsible for establishing and maintaining clearances around public supply lines.

Electricity can be dangerous. A branch or tree in contact with high voltage lines can potentially carry enough of an electric shock to kill. If you are planning to trim or remove trees near powerlines please see our fact sheets or call us on 13 12 61 for tree-trimming information.

Who reads my electricity meter?Return To Top

SA Power Networks owns and is responsible for reading all electricity meters in South Australia on behalf of the electricity retailers. Where access to your meter is available, we will read your electricity meter approximately every three months (90 days). It is the responsibility of the property owner/occupier to ensure we have safe and unimpeded access to the electricity meter at all times.

While we are responsible for obtaining meter readings we do not bill you for electricity usage. Your electricity
account will be provided by your electricity retailer.

If a meter reading cannot be obtained when we attend your property, an estimate of your electricity usage may be used by your retailer for billing purposes.

The date of your next meter reading is shown on your electricity account. Please note that this is an approximate date only. Due to scheduling commitments your meter reader may attend your home two business days either side of indicated date.

Why does SA Power Networks need access to my property?Return To Top

There are times when SA Power Networks needs to have convenient and unhindered access to your property. This may be for the purpose of reading your meter, or to inspect, test and repair equipment or to restore your electricity supply.

All SA Power Networks representatives carry formal identification, which you may request to see.

If you have specific requests relating to access to your property (such as security), or if there is a safety risk to our staff member (such as an unleashed dog), please inform us.

We respect your property and will remain onsite only for the minimum time it will take us to complete the purpose of our visit.

How can I contact SA Power Networks?Return To Top

You can contact SA Power Networks Faults and Emergencies on 13 13 66, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the following:

  • to report a dangerous or life-threatening situation, such as broken wires or poles down;
  • to access information on any power interruptions in your area; and
  • to report loss of power supply, or electricity supply problems.

See Contact us for all contact details.