Power and Water maintains thousands of kilometres of powerlines across 1.3 million square kilometres of the Northern Territory and interruptions to electricity supply can happen anywhere along this huge network.
For our customers, outages are irritating. For Power and Water, it means investigating the reason in all sorts of weather, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Loss of power
We do everything in our power to keep the electricity on but sometimes interruptions are unavoidable in the storm season. If your power goes out, look out the window or contact your neighbours to check if the interruption is affecting just your property or if it's more widespread. Remember, stay in your own home where it's safe.
If everyone else still has power, check your circuit breaker or safety switch to see if it's still functioning. If either of these has caused the stoppage you may need to call a Northern Territory licensed electrical contractor for advice.
If you're experiencing dull or flickering lights, 'brown out', low voltage or partial supply, turn off and unplug 'sensitive' electrical appliances at the powerpoint. Do not touch your switchboard or anything metal in your home, and call our emergency line 1800 245 090 immediately.
Why the power goes out
Every year the Northern Territory experiences wild storms and cyclones that may produce strong winds, heavy rainfall and many lightning strikes. This extreme weather takes its toll on electricity infrastructure and may potentially affect the power supply.
To reduce the number and duration of unplanned outages, Power and Water undertakes extensive preparations. Our repair crews work hard on tree trimming programs, and routine maintenance and upgrades to protect the network and infrastructure.
Power interruptions are often the result of something touching a powerline and ‘tripping’ the safety mechanism. Safety regulations require that we wait 15 minutes before reconnecting the line and during this time rubbish or debris may have fallen off the line allowing us to easily reconnect. However, if the line is damaged or something is trapped or entangled, reconnecting the line will take more time.
If you see trees close to or touching powerlines on your property, call 1800 245 092 and we will arrange to have them trimmed. Never try to trim them yourself; it could be fatal.
Safety is our first priority when we restore power, both your safety and the safety of our employees. While our repair crews know the importance of restoring power as quickly as possible, their first responsibility is to make our network safe.
If your power goes out, it’s more than likely that we are already responding. Wait at least 15 minutes before reporting the interruption. If the outage is longer than 15 minutes, you can call 1800 245 092 to report it.
Once a crew is sent out, they patrol the powerlines to find out the cause and gradually restore the power. Some powerlines in rural areas can be several kilometres long which means patrolling and reconnecting the power may take some time.
Restoration priority is always given to essential services such as hospitals, nursing homes, evacuation centres and emergency services. Residential and commercial customers follow.
If a power interruption is widespread, the best way to get an update on the situation is to visit our Current Bulletins page or follow @PowerWaterCorp on Twitter. The local emergency broadcaster, ABC 105.7 will also give regular updates on radio.
If you know the possible cause and location of a power interruption, contact us on 1800 245 092, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Details will help our emergency crews restore power.