Media Release: New data reveals increased extreme weather events

18 February, 2020

With more wild weather forecast today, homes and businesses in the Powercor network are being encouraged to prepare for the risk of power outages.

This follows analysis of data for the Powercor network, which shows 356 weather warnings were issued for the Powercor network this summer (1 December 2019 to 7 February 2020) – a significant increase compared to the same period  last summer (315), the one before (298) and the one before that (245).

The new analysis comes as another storm front is expected to hit Victoria on Tuesday, bringing gusts of up to 100km/h and widespread thunderstorms.

More than 15,000 customers experienced power outages in central and western Victoria last Friday, after strong winds and lightning caused damage across the network.

In the Bendigo region alone, more than 13,700 lighting strikes were observed by Weatherzone between 2pm and midnight.

Powercor crews working across 13 local depots had power back on quickly, but the new forecasts for Tuesday have prompted a fresh call for customers to be prepared in case the power does go out.

Powercor Head of Network Control and Operations, James Walker said extreme weather could cause significant damage to electricity assets.

“Powercor works throughout the year to make sure our network is safe and reliable, however extreme weather can cause major damage to power infrastructure and this can lead to outages,” Mr Walker said.

“We’ve seen poles completely split in half by lightning and trees falling over powerlines.

“We’re seeing more and more of these types of weather events so it’s important people know what to do if the lights do go out.

“Our crews and our control room are ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible if an outage does happen.”

Powercor has released a range of tips to advise how customers can plan for outages in order to stay safe and minimise inconvenience, as well as get back on with their day quickly once the lights come back on.

Tips include:

  • Download the VicEmergency app, sign up for Powercor SMS outage notifications, and keep emergency phone numbers handy;
  • Recharge phones and laptops so you can stay connected with family and friends;
  • Prepare a contingency plan if you rely on life support equipment or need electrical items to care for babies, people with disability, elderly or pets;
  • Have an emergency kit ready with cash for supplies, first-aid items, medications, torches, candles, matches, a portable radio and heavy-duty gloves;
  • Back-up computers and phones to keep data safe;
  • Consider alternative power sources for water pumps and cooking sources;
  • Make sure you know how to open your garage doors and gates manually; and
  • In the event of an outage, take care and stay clear of fallen powerlines and report them to us immediately on 13 24 12

You can also find a wide range of practical written and video tips on how to prepare for summer here.