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What should you do in a power cut?

Candles in power outages are being discouraged because of their firerisk 171 6015043 0 7075688 300

Power outages are inevitable, regardless of where you live in Australia.

It's important to note that it is not the fault of the electricity suppliers; the responsibility actually lies with your local electricity distributors who own the powerlines, according to Victoria's Department of Primary Industries. Some of the main reasons for power outages are storms, floods, trees falling on powerlines and car accidents.

While they can be a great excuse for a candle-lit dinner and getting to know your family better (without the television), power outages also pose a threat to your safety.

"Losing power can be especially dangerous during heatwaves, bushfires and grassfires,"  says Lily D'Ambrosio, Minister for Energy and Resources.

And that's not to mention the inconvenience. Here are some tips to help you and your family get through any future power cuts.

A power-cut can actually bring a family closer together.A power cut can actually bring a family closer together.

Assess

According to Ausgrid, the first thing you should do is inspect the extent of the problem. Is it just your house without power or is the whole neighbourhood affected? Regardless of the outcome, you should call your local power distribution company. If it's just you affected, you can alert them to the problem. If it is your entire community, you will be able to get an estimation of when the power is due to return.

Check up

Make sure your neighbours, friends and family are OK, particularly if they're elderly or have special needs.

Lighting

Despite the added romance of candles, the Department of Primary Industries recommends not using them because of the fire risk. Instead, have a set of torches with fresh batteries at the ready.

Food

If the outage is going to endure longer than two hours, the WA Department of Health recommends finding alternative storage or consuming your perishable food from the fridge. Your freezer, on the other hand, will be able to maintain frozen food for up to two days. The important thing is to not open the fridge or freezer unless absolutely necessary; every time they're opened, cold air escapes.

Switch off

With your handy torch, go through your home and turn off any appliances that were on before the power outage. The last thing you want is a rude awakening at 3 a.m. when the power returns to all your switched on lights, electric stove and television for example.

The team at Make It Cheaper can't do anything about power cuts, but we can compare electricity prices across Australia's leading suppliers to ensure you get the best deal.

Posted by Jeremy Elliott