Types of emergency

Electricity, gas, phone and water outages

Know what to do to before, during and after an utility emergency or outage.

During and after outages

Electricity outages

Reporting major electricity incidents

For life-threatening situations (including downed powerlines where there's a risk of an electric shock):

  • call Triple Zero (000) and ask for police
  • phone SA Power Networks on 13 13 66.

Reporting general electricity outages and faults

Before making a report if the outage is affecting:

If the outage hasn't been reported, report it online or phone SA Power Networks on 13 13 66.

Keep informed during an outage

Register with SA Power Networks' free messaging service, Power@MyPlace to get SMS or email power outage alerts. The alerts will tell you:

  • if SA Power Networks is aware that there is an outage in your suburb
  • the estimated time the power will be restored
  • when the power is restored.

During periods of prolonged or widespread power outages and during emergency events, listen to your local ABC radio station for updates.

Be electricity safe

During an outage be safe by:

  • keeping clear of fallen powerlines, as they may still be live
  • not using candles for lighting; use torches or battery-operated lanterns
  • not connecting temporary generators to household wiring under any circumstances
  • making sure appliances are turned off as they could come back on when you're not there
  • if in doubt, getting a licensed electrician to check it's safe before turning electricity back on.

If you have a back-up generator wired into the household supply, this work needs to be carried out by a licensed electrician to ensure that power is not fed into the SA Power Network electricity network. Generators feeding power back into the local grid puts lives at risk.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning make sure petrol or diesel-powered generators are only operated in well-ventilated outdoor areas, away from open windows and vents.

Handy tips

If your mobile phone battery is running low, use it sparingly and turn it off when it's not in use. Another option is to have a cable which can charge your mobile phone from your car.

Use your gas barbecue or camp stove for cooking, but use it outside.

Only open fridge and freezer doors when absolutely necessary to keep the food cold for longer.
Food safety in an emergency - SA Health

Keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer by closing curtains.

Turn off and unplug all appliances with sensitive electrical components such as computers, televisions and microwaves.

Don't use lifts when the electricity is off.

If driving, take care as street and traffic lights may not work.

Check on and support your neighbours if they need help.

After an electricity outage

SA Power Network customers who experience long or frequent power outages may be eligible to payments for inconvenience. To find out about your eligibility visit claims for power variations or interruptions.

Throw out any food that has gone off in the fridge or freezer.

Gas outages

Reporting major gas incidents

For life-threatening situations (including gas leaks or explosions) in public places:

  • call Triple Zero (000) and ask for Fire
  • phone Australian Gas Networks on 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532).

Reporting gas leaks.

Gas leaks on your property

For natural gas or reticulated LPG system leaks on your property:

  • turn the gas off at the supply point
  • if it's a significant leak dial Triple Zero (000) and ask for fire
  • if you're certain the leak is on your property, arrange for a licensed gas fitter to do any repair work and get a certificate of compliance, when the job is completed
  • if you're unsure if the leak is on your property, phone 1800 GAS LEAK (1800 427 532).

For bottled LPG leaks on your property:

  • turn off all gas appliances and cylinders straight away
  • if it's a significant leak dial Triple Zero (000) and ask for fire
  • phone your gas retailer.

Be gas safe

Be safe by making sure appliances are turned off as they could come back on when you're not there.

Don't attempt to use an appliance designed to operate on natural gas with LPG (or vice  versa), unless it has been converted by a qualified gas fitter and has had a gas certificate of compliance issued.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning make sure petrol or diesel-powered generators are only operated in well-ventilated outdoor areas, away from open windows and vents.

How to turn your gas on and off
Licensed gas fitter and gas certificates of compliance
LPG cylinders and fittings

Handy tips

If you have gas for cooking, use a gas BBQ or camp stove instead, but use it outside.

Check on and support your neighbours if they need help.

After a gas outage

Be safe and follow these instructions for turning on your natural gas supply and LPG supply.

If in doubt, get a licensed gas fitter to check it's safe before turning gas back on.

Telecommunications

Making phone calls

During an emergency, more people than usual are trying to use their phones. This can lead to network congestion. To help free up space on the network:

  • If you are phoning 000 (Triple Zero) and there is a short delay, stay on the line so you don't lose your place in the queue.
  • Limit non-emergency calls.
  • Keep phone calls brief.
  • Try SMS messaging when using your mobile phone. In many cases text messages will go through when calls won't. If the network is too congested to send a text message, the message will be sent when the service resumes.
  • Try a variety of communication services, if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one.
  • Wait 10 seconds before redialling a call. If you re-dial too quickly the old data doesn’t have time to clear before trying to send the call again.

Triple Zero and making emergency calls from mobiles

Calling Triple Zero (000) from a mobile phone - Australian government

Network failure

Unplanned or unexpected outages to your network connection can also occur.

Network outages will affect telecommunications services, including those to your mobile phone.

To find out about network outages in your area check with your network service provider - eg Optus, Telstra or Vodafone.

Water and sewerage

Reporting major water and sewerage incidents or faults

Before making a report, check for current major faults and scheduled works.

For major water incidents or faults, including leaks, phone SA Water on 1300 729 283.

The SA Water website has information on:

Sewer blockages normally occur due to broken, damaged or collapsed pipes.

A sign of a sewer blockage is if the water isn't draining away as it should in sinks, showers, baths and toilets. Arrange for a licensed plumber to do any repair work and get a certificate of compliance when the job is completed.

If you think the sewer blockage is in SA Water's pipes, call their customer service centre on 1300 883 121.

If a major leak or burst water main is detected, help protect your home and recover from a flood by referring to flood information.

The SA Water website has information on sewer blockages including what do if there is a sewer blockage, and how to make a claim.

Prepare for outages

Electricity outages

Be prepared

To prepare for an electricity incident or outage you should:

  • have an emergency plan and work out what you'll do if the electricity supply is cut off
  • have an emergency kit
  • know how to report an incident or fault
  • know how to be informed about outages
  • know how to be electricity safe.

In case of a power outage, it is important to have:

  • 72 hours of meals stored in your pantry - rotated as part of normal use and to include fresh drinking water for your family and pets
  • an amount of cash
  • a reasonable amount of fuel in your vehicle
  • a wind-up or battery powered radio
  • at least one spare external battery-  eg power bank - that can be connected to a mobile phone. The battery should be recharged every month. A cable which can charge your mobile phone from your car is another option.

Be informed

SA Power Networks owns and operates the electricity distribution network. If an outage is affecting you and others around you, check SA Power networks’ current power interruptions before making a report.

You can register with SA Power Networks' free messaging service, Power@MyPlace, to get SMS or email power outage alerts. The alerts will tell you:

  • if SA Power Networks is aware that there is an outage in your suburb
  • the estimated time the power will be restored
  • when the power is restored.

Life-support equipment

If you require an uninterrupted supply of power because you are on life-support equipment or have a medical condition that requires a continuous power supply:

  • develop an action plan with your doctor and family in case the power goes out
  • contact your electricity retailer or SA Power Networks to discuss your needs and register as a life support customer. Registering as a life support customer won't guarantee continuous electricity supply, but SA Power Networks will be able to keep you informed of planned outages.

Life support fact sheet - SA Power Networks

Prevent outages

Trees around powerlines are a major cause of power outages. Property owners have a responsibility to regularly clear vegetation away from service lines (the wires between the electricity pole and your house fuse). Damaged lines can cause fires and are a risk to people's safety. If vegetation is touching these service lines call SA Power Networks who can confirm that it can be cleared safely.

If vegetation needs to be cleared from around powerlines in the street contact your local council or SA Power Networks.

Avoid damage to underground electric cables during digging. Remember to Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or visit www.1100.com.au.

Trees and powerlines
Working safely near underground assets
.

Gas outages

Prevent outages

Avoid damage to underground gas pipes during digging. Remember to Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or visit www.1100.com.au.

Working safely near underground assets.

Telecommunications

If your home or business relies on electricity, during a power blackout, you won’t be able to use:

  • fixed landline phones, unless there is hardwired telephone access ie not connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), and the phone is not dependent on mains power supply
  • cordless phones with a mains power supply
  • modems, TVs and wi-fi routers
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, as they are dependent on access to the internet.

There are some variations to the above depending on your equipment and telecommunications plan, so it is best to talk to your network provider and equipment supplier about available options for backup power supply units.

It is recommended that you have a:

  • charged mobile phone, with a portable power bank as an alternative
  • wind-up or battery powered radio
  • a cable which can charge your mobile phone from your car.

After the power is cut, your equipment may need to be restarted. Switch off all equipment and power points, wait 10 seconds, then turn them back on.

Water and sewerage

Be prepared

In case the water supply is interrupted:

In case the sewerage is damaged or blocked:

Prevent outages

Avoid damage to underground water and sewerage pipes during digging. Remember to Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or visit www.1100.com.au.

Working safely near underground assets


Related information

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Provided by: SAFECOM
Page last updated 5 October 2018

Provided by:
SAFECOM
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/emergencies-and-safety/types/utility-outages
Last Updated:
05/10/18
Printed on:
14/12/18
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2018