Media Release: Keeping the lights on for Western Victoria and Melbourne’s CBD

26 March, 2020

Electricity distributors CitiPower and Powercor are continuing to deliver safe and reliable power to more than 1.4 million homes and businesses as the COVID-19 situation escalates.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Rourke said everyone in the business is committed to maintaining reliable electricity supplies to help customers through the current daily challenges and uncertainty.

“Our full resources are available to support customers,” Mr Rourke said.

‘Everything we do on the network is designed to deliver high levels of reliability and ensure the safety of the communities we service.”

Mr Rourke said all offices and 14 depots remain open for business and all available field crews and resource partners are scheduled for work.

“The health and safety of our people and the communities we service is our greatest concern,” he said.

“The priority is to address faults and critical maintenance which can otherwise threaten the safety of customers. Localised planned power outages may be required to enable these works to be conducted safely.

“We ask that you respect our crews as they work to keep the lights on now and prevent the risk of major disruptions later.”

Mr Rourke said all planned work is being reviewed to ensure the impact on households and businesses is minimised.

“No-one knows how long the current conditions will be enforced so it is important that we make sure our network is robust now and for the long term.”

Overall, CitiPower and Powercor employ more than 2,000 people. Around half of these are based in western Victoria to deliver regional services to customers.

Both networks deliver electricity to customers with greater than 99.9% reliability which on average, means customers may experience outages of 20 minutes in the CitiPower network and 129 minutes in the geographically dispersed Powercor region.

While operations have been prioritised around faults and maintenance, the networks are also continuing to deliver a capital works program that builds the capacity to support growing electricity demand.

This program includes electrical services to support major infrastructure and construction projects around western Victoria and Melbourne’s central business district which are providing vital employment and economic benefits at this time.

CitiPower and Powercor customers are advised that:

  • All contact centre operations remain fully operational:
    • Powercor: 13 22 06 for general enquiries or 13 24 12 for service difficulties and faults
    • CitiPower: 1300 301 101 for general enquiries or 13 12 80 for service difficulties and faults
  • CitiPower and Powercor branded uniforms and identity cards will be worn by any field representatives that need to conduct works on or near your property.
  • Our approved contractors that work on the CitiPower and Powercor networks will have self-branded uniforms and carry CitiPower and Powercor branded identity cards.
  • Notifications of any planned outages for work essential for sustaining reliability and network safety will continue to be provided well in advance of works starting.
  • Information on how to prepare for planned outages and food safety is available on our website or the Vic Gov website.

COVID-19 Response

In addition to following the government’s advice on gatherings and hygiene, we are preventing our people from being affected through initiatives such as:

  • staggering crew starting times and resource use within depots
  • segregating critical teams across multiple locations
  • restricting movements between offices and depots
  • enabling our people to work from home when it is viable to do so
  • providing new protocols for our people who work within the community and with customers who may be in self-isolation.