How to cope with an outage


Preparing for an outage

Our priority is to always restore any power outages as quickly as possible but there are instances when we are unable to do this due to the severity of the event. Have you thought about what your backup plan would be if you didn't have power for hours, if not days or weeks? 

With a little forward planning, you can get through an outage safely and comfortably. We suggest you take the following steps:

  • keep a torch and spare batteries handy. To reduce the risk of fire, don’t use candles during a power outage

  • have a radio and spare batteries available

  • charge your mobile phone often

  • ensure you have a non-electrical heating source and a barbecue or gas cooker for cooking

  • know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door is, and how to operate it
  • consider unplugging or using a surge protection device to avoid damage to any sensitive appliances. The effectiveness of surge protectors depends on a range of factors; talk to your electrician

  • check your insurance policy provides cover for sensitive equipment

  • know the location of your main switch to isolate electricity from your premises

  • if you are medically dependent on electricity, you need an emergency plan. Obtain medical advice and inform your electricity retailer (eg Meridian, Contact, Genesis)

  • if you rely on electricity for essential business operations, you should ensure you have an alternative power source such as a generator available for use during a power outage. For advice about safely connecting and using a generator, please visit our safety section or call your local electrician

Civil Defence provides detailed information on how you and your family can be ready to cope in a crisis and we suggest you take a moment to follow their advice. 

During an outage

  • Report the fault – call your electricity retailer, or Orion on 03 363 9898 or 0800 363 9898. Before calling, have your unique ICP (Installation Control Point) number ready (you can find this here or on your electricity account).

  • Treat all electrical lines and equipment as live at all times
  • Use a torch instead of candles, to reduce the risk of fire.

  • Turn your main switch off and check that nothing has fallen onto stoves and heaters – this will lessen the risk of fire when power comes back on.

  • Ensure all electric cords and appliances are unplugged from the wall socket.

  • Keep your fridge and freezer closed. Food in fridges and freezers will last longer if you keep the doors closed while the power is off.

  • Inspect electrical appliances for any visual damage and if damage is found, do not use. 

  • Do not attempt to make any repairs to damaged or faulty electrical equipment. Consult a qualified electrician.

  • Obtain advice from an electrician if you plan to use a generator for power.

  • Stay clear of any fallen power lines and other damaged network equipment - treat them as live at all times.

After an outage

Take care when moving around your property:

  • If you receive any "tingles" when touching electrical appliances or water taps, turn off the main switch immediately and seek assistance from a qualified electrician.

  • Exposed wires should be treated with care. Turning off the main switch does not mean that the wires feeding power to your house will be safe.

  • If circuit breakers trip or fuses blow, this is a warning that something is wrong - switch the circuit off and seek qualified advice.

  • Keep children well away from electrical equipment.

  • Stay clear of any fallen power lines - treat them as live at all times.

For further information and advice, visit the safety section of our website.