High heat safety

What to do if your power has been affected in times of extreme heat, which may sometimes result in Total Fire Ban Days.

Extreme heat or heat waves can place significant stress on the electricity network as more people use appliances like air conditioners to keep cool.

While working to provide reliable power to meet this peak demand, we are also required to operate our networks’ safety settings at a higher level of sensitivity during the hotter months.

During declared bushfire seasons and on Total Fire Ban Days, stricter procedures are in place to reduce the risk of fires starting from our assets. Our crews may also need to conduct safety checks and line patrols so it can take longer to restore power if an outage occurs.

We advise people to follow three important steps to be prepared:

  • Be Safe. Your health and safety is the priority.
  • Be Smart. If the power goes out, you’ll want to stay connected.
  • Be Ready. Have a plan in place for back-up power.

But if high heat is threatening and a Total Fire Ban Day is declared, then follow these tips to know what to do immediately before and during the event.

Beware of fallen power lines

Always treat them as ‘live’ and stay at least 10 metres away. Report them immediately by calling: 13 24 12. If the situation is life-threatening, call 000.

Listen: Beware of fallen power lines

Extreme weather can damage power poles and wires.  

Always beware of fallen power lines. 

Always treat them as ‘live’ and stay at least 10 metres away.

Report them immediately by calling: 13 24 12.

If the situation is life-threatening, call 000. 

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Before high heat

  • Pre-cool your home or just the rooms your are using to a comfortable temperature. Try not to open doors often so you keep the cool air in.
  • Set your air-conditioner to around 24 degrees (24oC) to stay comfortable but not use too much power.
  • Check your emergency plan and kit.
  • Know where a relief centre may be available within your community.

During high heat

  • Beware of powerlines sagging lower and swaying wider than usual due to high temperatures and often, winds.
  • If you lose power, then check our outage map for the estimated time for power to be back on.
  • Turn off and unplug sensitive electronic equipment like televisions and computers.
  • Check with a neighbour if they have also lost power. If not, then go to your meter box and check if your safety switch has tripped.
  • Solar panels can generate an electrical current even if the electricity is off. If you’re unsure about the condition of your solar panels, contact your installer or a registered electrical contractor (electrician) before turning equipment back on.

Network response

  • Customers registered with us as requiring power for life support may receive an SMS and be advised to activate their contingency plan in case power goes out.
  • Planned work for the affected region may be reviewed and planned power outages may be cancelled. For urgent works, we may modify the plan to ensure power is back on by midday.
  • We’ll prioritise work on faults or urgent repairs essential for reliable electricity.
  • On declared Total Fire Ban days, we will move the settings on network safety devices to higher levels of sensitivity to reduce the risk of fires starting from our assets.
  • Crews will patrol the whole length of powerlines before power can be safely restored to customers experiencing an outage.
  • We’ll send messages to customers via SMS if there is a power outage and will include an estimated time of restoration.
  • We’ll keep our outage map and current outage lists up to date.

Other important sources of information:

State Emergency Services: Call 132 500 or visit ses.vic.gov.au. Download the VicEmergency app at: emergency.vic.gov.au. If you need interpreter services call 13 14 50.

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