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Preparing for an unplanned outage

Make sure your business and staff are well prepared for a power outage

It’s important that you and your staff plan ahead to keep safe during power outages while you’re at work. These may be unplanned, or the result of unplanned outages, such as cars hitting power poles or storms. Here’s some advice to help you and your staff prepare and keep safe during storms or other situations that may affect your power supply.

What do we need to prepare for an emergency?

It’s important to ensure that you’re prepared for storms or other situations that may affect your power supply while you’re at work. We recommend you have an emergency survival kit at your place of business, including a flashlight, batteries and a first aid kit. Civil Defence have some great guidelines on how to prepare for an emergency.

Before a storm arrives, we recommend tidying up any loose objects around your yard or factory that may be affected by wind. It’s also important to stay on top of maintenance of any trees and vegetation that may come into contact with overhead power lines during bad weather.

What should we do before a power outage?

If the power outage is the result of an expected weather event, it’s important to get your people home safely well before the bad weather arrives. Following Covid-19, many businesses and their staff are much better equipped to work remotely when needed and know the equipment and tools they need to take home to be able to carry on working. We also understand there are many businesses that are unable to continue operating in severe weather or during power outages.

If you have staff working on call or during emergency situations where they may not have access to power, here are some useful guidelines.

  • Ensure there is enough drinking water to last three days. Fill buckets for hand washing and toilet flushing.
  • Charge your mobile phone and make sure you have a car charger and back up power banks for your devices to ensure staff can keep in touch.
  • Be aware that your internet is likely to also be disconnected without power.
  • Turn off sensitive electronic equipment and unplug from the power sockets to protect from possible power surges.
  • Have torches and back up batteries available.
  • If you have an automatic garage door, park vehicles outside prior to the outage. Learn how to operate these manually if possible.

What should we advise our staff to do during a power outage?

  • Stay at least EIGHT metres away from damaged power lines or electrical equipment.
  • Check our outages page for regular updates. We refresh our website outages information at least half hourly, so if you can’t see your outage please check again in a few minutes.
  • Check our regularly updated Facebook page with the latest information about outages.
  • Alternatively phone us but please be aware that during widespread outages our call centre experiences high call volumes, so you may be placed in a queue to speak to an operator. We appreciate your patience.
  • If you or a staff member is medically dependent on power, please arrange to get to a hospital or other place that is safe.
  • Turn off sensitive electronic equipment and unplug from the power sockets to protect from possible power surges.
  • If you go out, be aware that street and traffic lights may not be working.

How long will the power be out for?

Our priority is always safety of the public and our people, who work hard to get the power back on as soon as possible. Some outages will last longer than others.

Unplanned outages can last longer if:

  • it’s dark or the conditions are too dangerous for our people to work in (such as high winds).
  • physical access to the fault is limited.
  • a storm has caused damage in multiple areas.
  • the damage is severe, so we need to prioritise where we restore critical power supplies first.


During outages, we aim to add estimated restoration times to our online outage map, so check there first for details. Please remember to treat all power lines as live at all times and stay clear!

How do we know when to call Northpower?

If you are experiencing an outage, here is a checklist before calling our team at Northpower:

  • Have the fuses or circuit breakers on your switchboard tripped?
  • Do neighbouring properties or businesses have power? If they don’t then there may be a network fault. If they do, the fault may be in your internal wiring or service line.
  • Check our outages map for any current outages.
  • If some power points are working and not others, it can be a fault with the supply to your office or business. Please call us to check if there is a fault affecting your home.

Who pays for any repairs?

You will be liable for any repair costs if the fault is on your service line or you cause any damage to the Northpower network.

Still need help?

If you couldn’t find the answer you were looking for, please get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll do our best to help.