Severe weather safety
South East Queensland experiences a series of extreme weather events from late spring through summer to early autumn, where the electricity network is impacted by storms and extreme heat.
While our network can withstand these extreme weather conditions, it will always be vulnerable to direct lightning strikes, high winds, heavy rain, flooding and flying debris – all of which can cause power outages and fallen powerlines – a potentially deadly situation.
IMPORTANT: 'Take care, stay line aware' and stay away from fallen powerlines, alert people to the danger and call us immediately on 13 19 62. Powerlines can be difficult to see among tree branches and debris.
Here are our recommended tips to make sure you're well equipped to deal with these extreme weather events when it comes to electrical safety.
If you're in a bushfire prone area, remember to:
- Stay away from electrical equipment which may be threatened by fire.
- Be mindful of overhead powerlines when the smoke is dense.
- Once the fire has passed through, be on the lookout for exposed underground cables and melted pillar boxes.
IMPORTANT: While you might not be directly affected by bushfires, your power supply may need to be disconnected because part of the network has been affected.
Heavy rain and flooding
SEQ has an average of between 75 to 100 days of rainfall each year and local river systems are subject to regular flooding. In areas like Gympie, we work closely with the Council to monitor flood levels. When it's required, we'll activate our flood plan which involves switching off businesses to ensure less damage to electrical infrastructure. This may mean that the power can be restored sooner once the water levels recede.
IMPORTANT: While you might not be directly affected by flood waters, your power supply may need to be disconnected because part of the network has been affected.
- If water is coming through electrical fittings, contact your electrician.
- If flood waters rise to the level of electrical equipment, stay well away to avoid the risk of electric shock.
- Using a boat? Look up and live. You'll be closer to overhead powerlines.
- Think about relocating your switchboard and wiring.
- Household appliances affected by water can be extremely dangerous. Always have it checked by an authorised electrical contractor before using it. If in doubt, throw it out.
To assist in emergency planning and management during flooding, visit Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
While storms often drive high winds, they can occur in any season and be just as damaging to our overhead network. They can carry tree branches and other debris onto powerlines, or the powerlines can be whipped around or may clash together.
A few easy steps to help protect your home and family:
- Maintain trees and shrubbery in your yard. Removing weak branches and eliminating trees that could fall on your home during a storm.
- Secure outside items like furniture, toys and garden equipment as these could be potential missiles.
IMPORTANT: Never trim trees near powerlines, call us on 13 12 53.
Over the last two years 830,000 ground lightning strikes were recorded in South East Queensland. To see this in action, view our lightning tracker.
There are things you can do to stay safe when lightning strikes:
- Unplug computers, TVs (including the external aerial), stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment to avoid damage from a power surge.
- Avoid using the fixed telephone. If lightning strikes close by the phone system may become highly charged.
- Stay inside or away from trees and poles. Lightning usually strikes the tallest point.