Summer safety and bushfire preparedness

Plan to have the power you need this summer.

Our customers use more electricity in summer than any other season of the year. We’ve been working throughout the year, on critical maintenance and major projects, to make sure our network is reliable for you.

We know power outages, for any reason, are especially inconvenient over summer.

Despite all our planning and work behind the scenes, extreme weather can happen at any time and can cause extensive damage and outages, and bushfires can also damage power infrastructure and lead to power outages.

Fast facts

So far this year we have

  • inspected more than 159,034 poles
  • replaced 2,230 poles
  • reinforced 1,145 poles
  • completed 75% of our ground and LiDAR inspections for high bushfire risk areas in the Powercor network
  • REFCLs operating in 17 locations in Powercor and expect to have them operating in 18 this summer covering 115 feeder lines, 15,467km of powerlines and supporting 215,760 customers.

A little bit of planning now can make a big difference later

Just as we’ve been preparing for a busy summer period, there are things you can do to keep your family safe. Have a read through the tips below, discuss it with your family, and be prepared for summer.

For many of you who have made a ‘seachange’ or a ‘treechange’ in the last couple of years, it may be the first summer you are spending living in regional Victoria so it’s even more important that you plan and know what to do ahead of extreme weather, fires and how to respond in a power outage.

Things to consider:

  • don’t rely on electricity in your fire plan or during an emergency
  • clear up debris around your property
  • have an emergency supply kit with torch, radio, batteries, food and water, and a phone charger ready to go
  • charge your mobile phones in advance or have a powerbank handy in case you need to leave your property or you lose power
  • know how to open electric garage doors, gates and locks manually in case there is no power. Practice before summer starts
  • make sure petrol or diesel water pumps have been tested before you rely on them in an emergency
  • if you live or work in a building that has elevators or electronic card access, think about how you would deal with the possibility of prolonged outages
  • put together a bushfire plan before summer hits
  • find out about Fire Danger Ratings and TFBs in your district via the CFA website
  • find out your nearest Neighbourhood Safer Place and Community Fire Refuge via the CFA website
  • have cash available in case ATM services are down
  • back up essential business or personal documents to a USB or storage device
  • always stay clear of fallen powerlines. Report them to us on 13 24 12
  • make sure you’ve registered with us online for notifications about what’s happening
  • check in on vulnerable family members or neighbours
  • if you’re a registered life support customer, speak to your doctor about a backup plan
  • if your business is dependant on energy, think about whether a generator is right for you

Info for solar customers

For safety reasons, solar panels will stop operating during power outage events. This is to ensure that excess solar power is not being fed back into the grid and potentially endangering our lineworkers and the community. Solar customers who want to access solar and excess power stored in batteries during these events should talk to a reputable solar installer about off-grid backup system solutions.

Explainer: Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters (REFCLs)

Our bushfire mitigation programs are helping to make our communities safer. In the Powercor network we have REFCLs operating in 17 locations and expect to have them operating in 18 locations by this summer. The REFCLs will cover 115 feeder lines, 15,467km of powerlines and support 215,760 customers.

REFCLs are located at Bendigo, Woodend, Gisborne, Castlemaine, Colac, Camperdown, Winchelsea, Bendigo Terminal Station, Maryborough, Eaglehawk, Charlton, Ararat, Ballarat North, Ballarat South, Terang, Stawell and Koroit, with Merbein also expected to be operating on this summer.

Take a look at the video below to find out how REFCLs work to protect your community.

Explainer: outages and extreme heat

We operate our network’s safety devices on more sensitive settings during summer and on Total Fire Ban Days to minimise fire starts and this can lead to outages.

Outages on these days may take longer to restore, as our crews are required to patrol the lines after each fault.

The longest feeder length on the Powercor network is more than 1190km long, while the average length is about 137km. This compares to just over 3km in the CitiPower network.