From the Melb Age Article, 09.01.10 (last Paragraph)
Police have advised people to prepare a ''blackout kit'' containing a charged mobile phone, radio, list of personal contacts and numbers for power companies, as well as candles and gas appliances for cooking. They warned that power blackouts and public transport chaos were possible
Sometimes these outages can be life-threatening. If you rely on electricity to run oxygen units or other medical devices, you should already be trained in what to do in case of failure. You should also have a letter from your medical advisor that backs up your claim. This is essential.
Besides that for the average householder, there are steps you can take to ensure that you protect yourself during a power failure or load shedding as it is sometimes referred to. The Loss of Power in Residential Properties
The term Power failure is used when the power failed due to natural cause, like wind, storm damage, or accidents.
Load shedding is used when the electricity supplier purposely turns the electricity off during peak demand times for a short period of time – often for up to 4 hours at a time. They rotate the ‘black-outs’ to share the load between areas of consumers.
Several years ago, it was forecast that load-shedding would become more prevalent as more houses were built and more houses installed cooling appliances as finances allowed, and less infrastructure built. This prediction is now fact.
In this article dated the 30th January 2009 written by the Herald Sun clearly shows that a cable failure (power failure) then resulted in load shedding due to demand. Jan 2009 - Huge Power Outage Hits State
The Victoria Health department admits that during an extended heatwave, it is likely that load shedding or power failures will occur and have made allowances for it here Heatwave Plan Vic PDF 1.5MB
The Government, with the thought to reduce liability are trying in all avenues of government to make the person responsible for personal safety, from bushfire information to power failures and even looking after the neighbours. I don’t have a problem with this, I do it automatically, but there are many people who don’t do this as par for the course and this is what the Government is trying to change.
If power failures become common place, and certain areas are more susceptible than others – there is recourse. Reliability of Supply and Compensation
(Link updated 4th Jan 2013)
Here is a further guide IF power is lost and what to do and what NOT to do - Dept of Primary Industries - Your Guide to Power Outages.
Between bushfires and power outages – Australians will have a lot to deal with this year.
Take care out there and remember that help is not far away, but you have to ask for it and sometimes you have to help yourself before others can help you.