Essential work and power outages
Electricity is an essential part of our lives, and it is inconvenient when not available. We provide customers at least four working days’ notice when our work will involve a power outage. This notice is intended to give you time to prepare for being without power.
If you have complex needs or are vulnerable when the power is out, being prepared for a power outage at any time is essential.
As more customers work from home or have more food stored in fridges and freezers, we have been asked if it is really necessary to keep doing essential work. The answer is yes.
We need to do essential work and, while we know it will be inconvenient, it helps keep the power on and it helps us to support you at home or in the workplace. What we will do is try to give you as accurate and timely information as we can so you can make informed decisions about how you will manage if we do need to turn off your power.
The best way to keep up-to-date about power outages affecting your property, including any cancellations or changes, is by signing up for SMS or email updates. If you are not already receiving these messages you can register on our sign up for updates page.
Unless we send a specific message to you advising of a change, please plan according to the original message.
Upcoming planned outages are listed on the outages map.
- A refrigerator and freezer will keep food cold longer if you keep the door closed. Avoid opening doors to check the contents. For more advice on food safety visit SA Health
- If your freezer is not full, keep items close together—this helps the food stay cold longer.
- Keep ice packs.
- Cancel incoming food deliveries.
- If your home has an electric hot water system and you keep using it, the water will simply go cold. Once the power is back on, you may need to wait for the off-peak window (normally 11pm – 7am) for your system to reheat. If your system has a ‘boost’ button you can heat your water outside of this window, once power is restored.
- If you use an electric pressure pump, make sure that all taps are turned off. This will prevent flooding if power is restored when you are not home.
- Have a back up plan for any pets relying on power (such as tropical fish) to ensure their needs are met.
- Consider UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for fish tanks and similar equipment.
- If you or someone you know relies on medical equipment, here are some extra tips to best prepare and manage your needs during an outage.
We carry out regular upgrades and essential maintenance to ensure safe and reliable power supply and to guarantee we can meet future power demand. Planned work might also involve connecting new customers to the electricity network or ‘grid’, allowing safe access to trim trees, and maintaining voltage levels.
Just like a regular car service, powerline maintenance reduces the risk of a breakdown at an unexpected and inconvenient time.
Doing this work under planned conditions reduces the length of time your power is off if the same equipment was to fail unexpectedly. Our crews are already on site before the power goes out and have all the equipment they need to do the job.
As you can imagine, working on or near powerlines can be dangerous. When we can, we will keep the power on. There are instances in which it is necessary to disconnect power for the safety of our crews.
We complete five million hours of work each year, so it is difficult to schedule at times that will suit all customers. Most essential work will be done in daylight hours for several reasons, including minimising noise and lighting disturbance. Generally, the work will happen Monday to Friday when labour rates are cheaper.
Some work may be done at night or on weekends especially if we need a permit to work on main roads or for major projects which need extra crews.
In planning our work over the year, we also consider seasonal peak commercial interests such as shearing, vintage and fruit picking as well as busy tourism dates to minimise the impact on our state and our community. However, some hazards may need to be addressed at inconvenient times.
We do not complete planned work on public holidays, over the Easter long weekend, in the last few days leading up to Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
The times are a guide only and are intended to inform you of the maximum time that your power may be interrupted. You should plan around your power being off for the full time notified.
There are times that the power may go off later than the start time advised, but our aim is to get the power back on sooner than the finish time.
To reduce the impact of having multiple outages, where possible, we will bundle work together and complete it during a single, sometimes longer interruption. While some customers may prefer several shorter power outages to one long outage, it is safer and is also more cost-effective.
On the rare occasion we reschedule essential work, the best way to keep up to date is by signing up for updates.
This is usually the only way we can let you know if essential work is changed with short notice.
We do not provide generators to keep your power supply running through planned work. Doing so would add considerable time and cost to all consumers through their bills.
You may wish to consider a generator for your business or home either to manage this planned work or in case of an unexpected power failure which can happen, for example, during storms.
We suggest that you speak with a licensed electrician or generator specialist to discuss your needs. The Office of the Technical Regulator (OTR) has produced safety information for using generators.
There are instances when, despite our best efforts, you may experience extended interruptions to your power supply.
As no electricity distributor can guarantee power 100% of the time, it's essential to plan for power outages and know what to do when the power goes out.
- always provide at least four working day’s notice in writing of power outages for planned work
- attempt to provide more notice for registered customers through our SMS service
- ‘bundle’ work where possible to complete as much maintenance as possible within one period
- consider seasonal peak commercial interests when planning our maintenance schedules to minimise the impact on our state and our community
If you have complex needs or are vulnerable when the power is out, being prepared for a power outage at any time is important.
Prepare your back-up plan early, so you are ready for those times when the power goes out.