Electrical safety

For your homeElectrical safety

We work year-round to keep our electricity network safe, and power flowing to your property. As part of this work, we sometimes need to turn the power off to your home or business while we safely maintain, repair or upgrade parts of the network.

Extreme weather can happen at any time of the year, but it can occur more frequently in summer. Storms, lightning, high winds, flooding and fires can all damage electricity infrastructure and down trees onto powerlines – potentially resulting in power outages.

This summer, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting even more rain, storms and potential widespread flooding, as well as heatwave conditions. This means the risk of outages continues to increase.

We’ve put together some helpful information, so you can ensure you’re prepared in the event of an outage – and know how to stay safe around any damaged powerlines in your area.

Shocks and tingles

If you feel a shock or a tingle from a tap or showerhead in your home, do not touch or enter that area again and call us immediately to report it:

  • Powercor 13 24 12
  • CitiPower 13 12 80

Experiencing a shock or a tingle could mean there is an electrical wiring issue in or near your home that might lead to a more dangerous situation. Poor internal wiring or faulty appliances are the main causes of electric shock.

You’ll need to get a registered electrical contractor (qualified electrician) to investigate.

To reduce the hazard, never use damaged electrical appliances and ensure that any electrical work is performed by a qualified electrician.

How to safely help someone experiencing a severe electric shock:

  • Call 000 immediately.
  • Turn off the power at the mains supply point on the switchboard before providing assistance.
  • In cases where a victim needs to be immediately removed from an electrical source, push them free with a wooden broom handle or your foot, if you are wearing shoes.
  • Take extra care if the incident occurs in or near water as water can become electrically charged.

For less severe electric shock injuries, see your doctor for a health check.

Dial Before You Dig

Safety is a fundamental aspect of any digging or excavation project, so using the Dial Before You Dig service should always be your first point of contact before starting any project.

When you lodge an enquiry via the service, you gain access to plans and information directly from asset owners of utility services such as gas, electricity, water, telecommunications.

Users must lodge an enquiry online at least one business day before starting work outlining where and when you plan to dig.

Before you start work, call Dial Before You Dig on 1100 or visit https://www.1100.com.au/

Electrical fires

Electrical fires can be caused by incorrectly installed wiring or defective appliances. Please ensure only qualified electricians work on the wiring for your property.

If you’re finding that fuses blow or safety switches operate frequently, wiring systems and appliances should be inspected.

To reduce the risk of electrical fires, make sure you service appliances regularly and throw out any with visible defects like damaged cords. Electric blankets in particular should be checked frequently.

If an electrical fire occurs, then never attempt to extinguish it with water as this will put you at risk of electrocution. Instead, respond to a small electrical fire by turning off power to the source and using a fire blanket or dry chemical fire extinguisher.

For larger electrical fires, immediately leave the property and dial 000.

Safety switches

Safety switches work by monitoring the flow of electricity through a circuit and detecting problems as soon as the current leaves the circuit. If a problem is detected a safety switch will shut off the electricity fast enough to save a life or prevent costly damage.

In Victoria it is mandatory to install safety switches in new premises and premises where major renovations occur. Visit the ESV website for more information.

Appliance safety

See below for safety tips for a wide range of appliances or for when around electricity indoors or outside.

Electrical appliances and infrastructure are found both inside and outside the home.

Safety tips for inside the home
  • Powerpoints: Put child safe plugs on unused powerpoints. Always turn powerpoints off before inserting or removing a plug.
  • Toasters: Turn off toasters at the powerpoint before trying to remove stuck toast.
  • Hairdryers: Never touch electrical appliances or switches with wet hands or feet.
  • Entertainment: Avoid using adaptors and powerboards for more than they are designed to support.
  • Leads: Place extension leads along a wall – never under a rug where it will build up heat.
  • Electric blankets: Check all cords, don’t piggyback on power boards and when storing – roll don’t fold. Folding can damage the heating element.
  • Electric heaters: Don’t dry your clothes on them and don’t leave them in places where they can be knocked over. Make sure heaters are turned off before you go to bed or when you leave the room.