9 December 2022

How to fix a power outage

| Dione David
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Switchboard in the off position during a power outage

If your switchboard is in the off position, the circuit has tripped. Photo: Region.

Power outages may be common, but many of us remain in the dark about what to actually do when they happen to us.

The seemingly obvious answer would be to call your service provider or an electrician, but this would be overkill in many cases.

Grae Munro from Detlev’s Electrical walks us through a simple pre-check you can conduct if the power goes out.


  1. Check the switchboard to verify whether the circuit breaker or Residual Current Device (RCD) is in the on position or the off position. If it’s in the off position, this means the circuit has tripped.
  2. Unplug every device from your outlets.
  3. Return to the switchboard and try to reset it to the on position. If the circuit refuses to stay in the on position even with all devices unplugged, it’s time to call a professional. If it allows you to do so, you’ve probably got a faulty appliance and need to proceed to a process of elimination (step four).
  4. Start plugging your devices back in one by one until the circuit trips again to identify the faulty device that was most likely the cause of your power outage.


  • If you have a genuine power outage, check with your local provider to verify whether it could be part of a scheduled interruption, and report your outage if necessary.
  • Make sure to avoid opening your fridge or freezer until the power is back on to preserve your fresh food for as long as possible and prevent waste. If you suspect it could be a while, it might be time to break out the esky and ice.
  • Leave one light in the on position so you know when the power is restored.


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