What Causes Power Outages?

Apr 26, 2017

As Sydney sweltered through the last weeks of Summer, we heard warnings from electricity providers that blackouts may occur as air conditioner usage sky-rocketed. Extreme weather conditions, of course, can result in power outages, but you may wonder what the other causes are, and when can they occur?

What Causes Power Outages

We Love Electricity

It’s probably true that we take electricity for granted. Almost everything in our homes relies on electricity.

If there is to be a planned power outage in your area, the supplier will give householders fair warning. In fact, by law they need to provide that information. If the break is scheduled for a week day and you and your family are all going to be at work and school, you will hardly give the outage a second thought. Planned or scheduled power outages are rarely planned for a weekend.

When the power goes off in your home, it always seems to be at an inopportune moment. Then again, is there ever an opportune moment? No. If your home is suddenly blacked out there are a few steps you can take – sort of a checklist of things you can do to work out the reason.

  1. A power overload on a circuit will cause the breaker to trip. If there are lights still on in other areas of the house, then this is the most likely problem. You can fix that easily enough by changing some appliances or devices around to different power points and resetting the circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker doesn’t reset, call an electrician or your electrical energy provider.
  2. If all the power goes off in the home, there might be a few reasons for this:
  • Stormy weather. High winds and tree branches touching power lines. Rain after a long dry spell can also cause power lines to short out as a lot of dust will have settled onto the lines. Lightning hitting a pole, transformer, or anything close to power may cause a localised power break.
  • An accident. It happens often enough that a vehicle involved in an accident hits a power pole.
  • A brownout. There is a temporary drop in voltage to power in your area. Your lights may dim but not go off completely.
  • Spikes. There can be surges in the power supply and these usually result in the tripping of the circuit breaker. This is a good reason to have surge protection on devices like computers, TVs, and smartphones.
  • Animals. Sometimes animals like possums, cats, and even snakes come into contact with a power line. This can cause a short circuit and cut power to the localised area.
  • Bushfires. The power provider may be instructed to cut power to an area that is threatened by bushfire.

What to Do in Case of a Power Break

If it’s a genuine power outage and you have checked internally with your circuit breaker board, then a phone call to the power supplier is the next step. They are quick to have a recorded message or have advised news services that something has happened. Most people have data services on their phone which are not reliant on power, so people have contact with the outside world.

Electrical Problems

If you have any doubts about your home appliances, your circuit breakers, electrical cords, or anything to do with the power supply in your home, it’s not a good idea to be fussing and fiddling about yourself in darkness trying to ascertain what went wrong. The answer is straightforward – CALL A SPARKIE! A fully qualified electrician can investigate power problems safely and provide the right advice on how to restore it. You just don’t mess with electricity – it’s unforgiving.

If you live on Sydney’s North Shore or Northern Beaches, contact Everest Electrical on 0410 229 139 to carry out an electrical safety inspection if you have any inexplicable power outages in your home. It’s basic, common sense.