Many medical conditions require the continual use of a life support appliances that are reliant on electricity to operate (such as ventilators, heart pumps, oxygen concentrators, nebulisers and apnoea monitors). If you are reliant on a life support appliance, it is important that you contact your energy retailer and local electricity distributor to advise them of this. Energy retailers and distributors will not be aware of the individual requirements of a household and as such it’s the responsibility of the household to notify them of this situation.
This does not mean that your supply will never be disconnected; it means that your retailer and distributor can work with you to provide advice and information about what to do in the event of a planned or unplanned power outage.
Best endeavours are made by distributors to ensure a consistent supply of power to houses and business. However, for various reasons (e.g. weather, maintenance and upgrades, excess demand or damage to infrastructure) power supply may be cut off unexpectedly. This can be inconvenient for households and businesses but can be particularity distressing for customers who are reliant on life support appliances. Some distributors will allow you to register your mobile phone number to receive SMS updates on outages in your area.
Victoria has five electricity distributors:
Information about your local distributor can be found on the back of your electricity bill or by searching your address using the Victorian Government's Energy and Earth Resources website.
It is advisable that if you or someone in your household is reliant on the use of an electrical life support appliance that you have an emergency plan – established by a medical practitioner – for what to do in the event of an electrical outage. This plan may include:
- Details of the nearest hospital.
- Emergency contact numbers.
- Access to spare batteries or an alternative power supply.
- A torch or portable light (and replacement batteries).
- A fully-charged mobile phone and your list of emergency contact numbers and medical support.
We have more information about planned and unplanned outages in fact sheet 30.
The Victorian Government’s Energy and Earth Resources website also has more information on electricity outages, including a handy guide.