Power outages and emergencies
What to do when the power goes out
Where possible, we issue regular power updates via the website, media, social media and SMS to keep you well informed. Ensure you sign up for SMS updates.
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, at work or out and about - 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you or someone you know uses a life support system please note restoration times may vary due to the nature and location of the fault or even the weather conditions. Please implement your action plan, or contact your medical practitioner. For more information please download our factsheet here.
- 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.
- If driving during a power interruption, be aware that street lights and traffic lights may not be operating so take extra care.
- Stay clear of any downed power lines and always assume they are live - report immediately to 13 13 66.
- 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.
How do I report a power interruption?
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?
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.
What causes power interruptions?
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?
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.
Why do I experience momentary power interruptions?
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?
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.
What causes my lights and other appliances to dim?
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.