Unplanned power outages and life support customers

Customers reliant on home-based life support equipment require a stable electricity supply. But planned outages for network maintenance, and unplanned outages caused by car accidents or severe weather events can happen. It’s important for customers, family members and carers to take steps to plan for unplanned outages.  

Customers should contact their energy retailer or distributor to register as a life support customer. When a customer notifies either a retailer or a distributor that they use life support equipment, the provider is required to list the customer on a register and start a medical confirmation process. Customers must complete this process within the advised timeframe otherwise the registration will lapse. Once registered, the energy retailer or distributor cannot disconnect the customer from electricity. A key part of the registration process is to provide life support customers with advice about establishing a life support action plan to follow when an unplanned electricity outage occurs.

Unplanned outages: Car accidents, severe weather events or natural disasters can cause unplanned outages which energy providers can’t control. When this happens, electricity networks immediately dispatch staff to identify the cause and extent of the outage, initiate repairs, and inform customers about the expected length of the outage via phone messages, their website and social media. Customers, their carers or families need to follow their life support action plan back-up arrangements which may include seeking emergency services support.

Planned outages: Distributors need to undertake network maintenance from time to time. When this occurs, advice about a planned supply interruption will be provided to all customers giving them at least four days’ notice so that alternative arrangements, which may include following the customer’s life support action plan, can be made by customers, carers or their families.    

Use our Life support action checklist to help plan and prepare for electricity supply interruptions. 

Information on how to register as a life support equipment user.