What causes a power outage?

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. What causes a power outage?

What causes a power outage?


Luckily, power outages in Hornsby, the North Shore and surrounds are pretty few and far between. But when they do happen, they occur without any waning and catch us all unawares, usually setting households into a spin and certainly bringing everyone to a standstill until they are fixed.

So what actually causes an electricity power outage?

An electricity outage can be described as a short or long-term loss of electric power in a certain area. Faults fall into one of three categories depending on the duration and outcome of the outage.

  1. A permanent fault– these are substantial power shortages caused by a fault on a power line. Power is automatically restored once the fault is cleared.
  2. A brownout – these result from a drop in voltage in the electrical power supply.
  3. A blackout– these occur when there is a loss of power to a particular area and can last anything from a few minutes to a week, depending on the severity.

For a fault to be classified as an ‘outage’, they have to tick these boxes:

  • The service provider hadn’t planned it
  • In excess of 1,000 people are affected
  • It lasts at least one hour

Some common causes of outages

Weather – No surprise that our local weather can be a real problem when high winds or flying debris damage power lines or cause them to touch and short out.  Heavy rain and flooding can also damage electrical infrastructure.

Spikes – A temporary increase in the electrical supply voltage can result in a power outage. These are usually caused by lightning strikes, tripped circuit breakers or short circuits.

Motor accidents – Can result in damaged power poles result in power lines to touching, which can lead to a significant outage.

Bushfires – Electricity supplies are often intentionally disconnected during bushfires for obvious safety reasons.

Animals – Sometimes animals can come into contact with and damage transformers and fuses, causing the power to shut down.

What to do in a power outage

If you know our electricity distributor, give them a call. It most probably is Ausgrid if you live in the area. If the outage is widespread they may have a recorded message otherwise they will be able to come and inspect and determine the issue.

Often, if the distributors are aware of the outage and actively fixing it, there is nothing you can do except wait it out for the power to come back on. It’s a great idea to have a stash of torches/ battery operated lights handy just in case an outage hits you at night time so at least you will be able to see.

If you live in Hornsby, the North Shore, Castle Hill and surrounds and need an electrician, give our team a call on 9477 2550.