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Supporting our community during the coronavirus pandemic

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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, we want to let you know that we are working to protect the health and wellbeing of our people and community, and ensure we can continue to deliver electricity distribution services to customers across South Australia.

Over the past month, we have undertaken significant work to ensure that we can continue operations if the COVID-19 outbreak escalates in South Australia.

Our priorities remain: 

  • The wellbeing of our people and our customers; and  
  • Maintaining electricity supply and critical services over an extended period. 

As a business, we are well-versed in emergency response and have robust business continuity plans in place.   

We are adopting social distancing strategies and hygiene protocols to safely manage interactions with our workforce and customers, and are encouraging our industry partners to do the same. 

Our approach reflects this evolving situation and is consistent with action being taken by State and Federal governments as well as the latest expert medical advice of Australian and international health authorities.   

We are confident that the steps we are taking will result in minimal impacts to essential services, such as emergency outage response.  

We will continue to have crews available 24/7 for emergency response including responding to fallen wires and power outages. 

It is essential our crews stay safe to keep the power on across the state, so we ask our customers to help by following a few precautions.   

When reporting faults, please notify us if anyone at the property is self-isolating or quarantined or has been in contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.  

Customers can also report power outages online 24/7 and let us know in the comments whether there are any infections in the household or not. 

The alert to our crews does not mean we will not attend the fault reports, it is simply extra information for our crews to manage risk. 

Planned maintenance on our network will continue to be a daily part of our operations.  This program is important to ensure that we can keep the power on and minimise the risk of unplanned power outages.  

The best way to keep up-to-date about power outages affecting your property, including any cancellations or changes, is via the free SMS and email messages. If you aren’t already registered you can do so at outage updates.

Our focus is being able to maintain customers supply now, and over the coming months, and keeping both our crews and the South Australian public safe, well and healthy. 

 

 

Frequently asked questions

Are you still undertaking planned work during the COVID-19 pandemic?

We will continue to undertake planned work (which involves power outages) during the COVID-19 pandemic, as this work is essential to ensuring we keep the power on for all South Australians.

We are aware that these types of planned outages may have a greater impact given that more people than ever before are now at home due to coronavirus.

In these circumstances, we are closely evaluating the need for particular work activities to proceed and how we might be able to minimise the impact on customers in the current circumstances.

We undertake about 4800 planned works every year in order to ensure the best performance of the network delivering a safe and reliable power supply across South Australia.

We provide at least four business days’ notice of this work so that people can plan ahead.

We also try to minimise the number of customers affected, the duration of the outage and the frequency of any such outage in any area.

Planned work remains necessary in order to upgrade and maintain the network during the period, which expert advice would suggest could last for many months.

We’re doing our very best to be flexible and minimise the impact on people, while balancing the essential work required to keep the lights on.

You can keep up to date about power outages affecting your property, including from planned work, by signing up for free updates via SMS or email. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page. Those who register for the SMS and email service will get eight working days’ notice in most instances.

 

What happens if there is an unplanned power outage in my area?

As a business we are focused on ensuring that we can continue to provide a safe, reliable electricity supply to our customers However, unexpected outages inevitably occur on the network will occur from time to time.

We have put in place a number of actions to ensure our crews can continue to respond to faults and emergency work 24/7, as the State deals with the coronavirus pandemic. We can keep you informed of our progress in restoring your power via our website or SMS updates. You can view all outages online as well as report them to us here or call us on 13 13 66.

You can keep up to date about power outages affecting your property by signing up for free updates via SMS or email. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page.

 

Will coronavirus impact the availability of power?

Everyone across the electricity sector is doing everything we can to ensure the security of electricity supply during the pandemic.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) continues to monitor both electricity supply (generation such as coal and gas power stations, wind turbines, and rooftop solar), as well as demand (what electricity users are currently consuming plus forecasts for the next period) across the National Electricity Market. AEMO ensures there is enough generation to meet demand.

We are continuing essential maintenance through this period to ensure a safe and reliable local distribution network to keep the power on.

 

I’m self-isolating and have been notified of a planned power outage in my area – can the outage be delayed?

If you have been notified of a planned power outage this was scheduled some time ago in our program of work.

While we are aware an increasing number of people are self-isolating or are unexpectedly at home, we assure you that we need to do this work to ensure the network in your area remains safe and reliable. Unfortunately we have many people with different expectations and we are not able to accommodate everyone’s individual preferences.

You can keep up to date about this power outages affecting your property, by signing up for free updates via SMS or email. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page.

 

How will I know if you have cancelled the planned work I’ve been notified for?

The best way to keep up to date about power outages affecting your property, including any cancellations or changes, is through our outage updates which we provide free by SMS or email. If you’re not already receiving these, you can sign up here.

 

If you are doing planned work in my area can I request a generator from you?

We don’t provide generators to keep your power supply running during planned work, as it would add considerable time to our works and significant cost to all consumers through their bills.

You may wish to consider purchasing a generator for your home, either to manage this planned work or in case of an unexpected power failure - such as during a storm.

We suggest that you speak with a licensed electrician or generator specialist to discuss your specific needs. The Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR) has produced safety information for using generators which you can read here.

You can keep up to date about power outages affecting your property by signing up for free updates via SMS or email. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page.

 

I am a Life Support customer – what does a planned power outage during COVID-19 mean for me?

Our obligations in relation to Life Support customers have not changed. We will provide you with at least four working days’ notice when our work will involve a power outage. If you are registered for free SMS and email, we will provide eight working days’ notice in most cases. This notice is intended to give you time to prepare for being without power and to activate your back up plan for when the power goes out.

Please take time to review your current backup plan in light of current directions around social distancing and self-isolation.

You can keep up to date about power outages affecting your property by signing up for free updates via SMS or email. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page.

 

I’ve been notified of a defect on my private electrical connection which needs to be fixed otherwise I risk disconnection.

Where there is a defect we won’t disconnect unless, in our assessment, the situation is immediately dangerous. If you have been given a date to have the defect fixed by, then we are extending those timeframes when safe to do so. Where the supply has been disconnected to your property only for safety, or if there is a current defect notice, that the defect will need to be fixed before reconnection.

 

I lost my income and can’t pay my bill. What can I do?

We recognise that there are members of the community who are experiencing financial stress and we recognise that electricity is an essential service.

We encourage you to contact your energy retailer to discuss your circumstances with them as soon as possible. Retailers are actively looking at ways they can assist their customers through this event, there is a range of support, rebates and plans available.

There are also government concessions you may be entitled too if you are not already receiving them.

 

Will meter readers still visit my property?

Meter readers are still be visiting properties.  You can expect that they will have incorporated current social distancing and hygiene guidelines into the way they will work at your property.  They will also ask you questions around whether you are self-isolating or in quarantine to assist them to carry out their role safely.

If SA Power Networks owns the meter at your property (it will have ETSA printed on it), we can send you a reminder a few days before our meter readers are in your area by signing up for updates. If your retailer owns the meter, they get the data remotely to bill you and our meter readers will not attend your property.

 

My meter is inside the house. Can I still request a special reading, move in or disconnection?

Meter readers are still visiting properties. You can expect that they will have incorporated current social distancing and hygiene guidelines into the way they will work at your property. They will also ask you questions around whether you are self-isolating or in quarantine to assist them to carry out their role safely.

 

I’m waiting on a meter investigation/inspection from SA Power Networks. Will you still be doing this during the coronavirus situation?

Meter investigations/inspections will still take place during this period.  You can expect that inspectors will have incorporated current social distancing and hygiene guidelines into the way they will work on your property.  They will also ask you questions around whether you are self-isolating or in quarantine to assist them to carry out their role safely.

We ask for customer assistance and understanding to help us manage this safely while we are on site.

 

Are SA Power Networks doing / still doing same day retailer requested reconnection of supply?

Yes we are still undertaking retailer requested reconnection of supply. We will accept a same day reconnection service order up until 9pm on business days.

 

Can I visit your depots, offices or worksites?

No. All locations are currently closed to external visitors. If you have an urgent need to attend sites please call us on 13 12 61, during business hours.

 

What if I want to report a streetlight has gone out during the coronavirus situation?

You can still report streetlights to us here and we will attend within our normal timeframes. Learn what these are and more about street light repairs here.

 

I am waiting on SA Power Networks to trim a tree in front of my home. Will you still be doing this during the coronavirus situation?

To ensure we provide our communities with a safe and reliable electricity supply we are committed to continuing our vegetation management program.

You can expect tree trimming crews will have incorporated current social distancing and hygiene guidelines into the way they will work near your property.

They may also ask you questions around whether you are self-isolating or in quarantine to assist them to carry out their role safely.

We ask for customer assistance and understanding to help us manage this safely while we are on site.

 

Helpful links

SA Health COVID-19 FAQs

SA Health-Information for the Community

Department of Health Resources on COVID-19

Talking to kids about scary stuff in the news

World Health Organisation information on Coronavirus

SA Government Energy Bill Concessions

 

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