Electrical safety and floods

Plan ahead and know the risks

Electricity and water is a very dangerous combination, and flooding can result in safety risks such as electrocution or electric shocks so it is important that you know how to keep safe.

Flood waters can damage your electrical wiring, and even once flood waters subside, debris can conduct electricity, making your premises and part of the surrounding area highly dangerous both during and after flooding.

If you’re impacted by flooding or think you might be, follow these tips to stay safe.

Preparing for floods:

Where possible, switch off, unplug, and raise all electrical appliances well above estimated flood height.

Check that you have a working torch handy and know the location of your meter box and main switch.

Consider turning off the main switches at your switchboard prior to the flood, if you have sufficient time to do so.

During a flood:

Don't stay in a house or building that is inundated by flood water when the power is connected.

Do not use any electrical appliances that have been wet or damaged.

If travelling by boat through flood waters, keep a good distance from powerlines and poles. Do not attempt to raise or move any powerlines during travel.

Always stay at least eight metres away from electricity poles, substations, fallen powerlines and any objects in contact with them.

  • If electricity poles or wires are covered in flood waters stay at least 150m away because water conducts electricity. Report it to us on 132 099 immediately

If you receive a shock or tingling sensation from any electrical appliances, plumbing, metal, sink or bath:

  • avoid all contact with the appliance or objects in question
  • call us on 132 099 and report the problem as soon as you can.

If powerlines have fallen across, or become entangled in your vehicle, unless in immediate danger, remain inside your vehicle and call for help.

After the flood:

We may have disconnected supply to your premises for your safety if there was evidence of flooding.

Restoring electricity when the floodwater has receded:

  • electricity should not be turned back on until you have had advice from a registered electrician that it is safe to do so.

Using water-damaged equipment can cause electric shocks and fires so make sure you:

  • Dispose of or have a licensed electrician repair water-affected electrical items, such as kettles, toasters and televisions.
  • Have a licensed electrician check all water-damaged hard-wired electrical appliances such as air conditioners. This safety check may be required before the power supply can be reconnected.

If your solar PV system has been damaged, get a licensed electrician to inspect it, make any repairs and check it’s electrically safe before it is re-commissioned.