Flood Safety

House surrounded by flood

Be prepared for floods

Storms and heavy rain can causing flooding which brings electrical safety risks - including electrocution or electric shocks. Flood waters can damage your electrical installation and wiring, and even once flood waters subside, mud deposits and debris can conduct electricity, making your premises and part of the surrounding area highly dangerous both during and after flooding.

Flood waters can also lead to corrosion of electrical connections and significantly increase the risk of the connection failing or causing a fire. An installation that has been inundated with flood water requires careful inspection and repair before supply can be restored.

Prepare for floods:

  • Where possible, raise all electrical appliances before the flood
  • Consider arranging for your supply to be disconnected prior to the flood, if you have sufficient time to do so - call us on 132080
  • If your supply has not been disconnected, turn off all switches and mains before the flood goes through (do not use any part of your body to hold the meter box lid open – use the prop or an object which is non-conductive).

During a flood:

  • Don't stay in a building that is inundated when the power is connected
  • Do not use any electrical appliances that have been wet or damaged
  • When operating a domestic portable generator refer to the manufacturer's operating instructions and our Domestic Portable Generator fact sheet
  • If you are in a boat or other watercraft, be aware that rising flood waters reduce the clearance of overhead powerlines (never assume they are not live)
  • Always stay at least eight metres away from the electricity network, including poles, substations, fallen powerlines and any objects in contact with them. Electricity can arc to surrounding objects, which means that you can be seriously injured by electricity without actually touching the powerline
  • If parts of the electricity network or fallen powerlines are covered in flood waters stay at least 150m away because water conducts electricity. Call Essential Energy on 132080 immediately
  • If you receive a shock or tingling sensation from any electrical appliances, plumbing, metal, sink or bath:
    • avoid all contact with the appliance or objects in question
    • call Essential Energy’s 24 hour supply interruptions line on 132080 and report the problem as soon as you can.

After the flood:

  • Call Essential Energy on 132080 before turning the power on if the structure has been inundated by flood waters
  • Essential Energy may have disconnected your premises if there is evidence of the premise being inundated with water
  • For the steps required to get your power on after your property has been flooded visit our Flood reconnections page
  • Do not plug in or use any appliances that have been in the flood water until they have been checked by a qualified electrician
  • Solar panels or Photovoltaic Arrays (PV Arrays) can generate an electrical current regardless of whether or not the electricity has been turned off. If you’re unsure about the state of your solar panel installation, contact your installer or a licensed electrician before turning the equipment on.

More information

Download the Safety during floods fact sheet
Download the Small Scale Solar Connections Flood Safety fact sheet