Flooded homes must be inspected

ELECTRICAL wiring and installations in any house or building which has been inundated by floodwater must be checked by a licensed electrical contractor before power can be restored according to Ergon Energy.

Ergon Energy is urging all residents and business owners to organise the compulsory checks of any flood-affected premises as soon as possible to avoid delays in restoring power once flood waters recede and the electricity network is deemed safe to re-energise.

Ergon Energy disconnects power supply to sections of its network when rising floodwater threatenS the safety of network equipment, safe clearances under powerlines for emergency services boats or inundation of customer premises.

“As the owner and operator of regional Queensland’s electricity distribution network, Ergon Energy is obligated under the Electrical Safety Act to ensure the safety of its network and connections for staff and the public,” Central General Manager Operations Steve Leighton said.

Ergon Energy crews will often disconnect individual premises which have suffered water inundation.

“We have found in the past that some customers are confused as to whose responsibility it is to ensure their household or business premises wiring is safe to reconnect,” Mr Leighton said.

“In cases where homes or other buildings have been flooded, the premises must be given a clearance by a licensed electrical contractor before Ergon Energy will reconnnect supply,” he said.

Mr Leighton said Ergon Energy would reinstate supply to the premises as soon as safely practical once the appropriate clearance was provided by a licensed electrical contractor.

“Ergon Energy is responsible for everything up to the meters on a customer’s switchboard – from that point it is the premises owner’s responsibility to ensure wiring is safe,” Mr Leighton explained.

"While we have sympathy for our customers’ predicaments across these flood-affected regions, we will never compromise safety in the process of restoring electricity supply – it is just not worth the risk,” he said.

 

The following simple three-point checklist should be followed in  flood-affected properties:

  • If your premises has been inundated over electrical wiring, power outlets or other electrical installations (including switchboards), organise a licensed electrical contractor to check the premises as soon as flooding has abated.
     
  • Your licensed electrical contractor must provide a “Form A” – a document which clears the premises for Ergon Energy to reconnect supply.
     
  • If the premises is still without supply once a licensed electrical contractor has given the all clear, contact Ergon Energy on 132296 for further advice.

Ergon Energy has also offered the following electrical safety advice to residents in flood-affected regions:

  • Unplug all electrical appliances affected by water and have them inspected by a licensed electrical contractor before use.
     
  • Do not operate electrical appliances or switches while standing in water or when you have bare feet.
     
  • Have a licensed electrical contractor check or isolate any parts of your electrical installation that have been affected by water - especially if the switchboard has been submerged or if your safety switch has tripped.
     
  • Take extra care around your switchboard if it's outdoors and wear synthetic or rubber-soled shoes. If you are in any doubt about your switchboard's safety, stay clear and call your licensed electrical contractor.
     
  • Switch power off at the switchboard during clean up operations that use water or high pressure cleaners. This will help prevent contact with electrical equipment and appliances.
     
  • Take care when cleaning up as fallen powerlines hidden in branches, debris or water can be extremely dangerous. Don't take chances. If you find a fallen powerline, keep well away, warn others and call Triple Zero (000).
     
  • Warn children not to play or swim in floodwater as there may be unseen 'live' and dangerous electrical wiring or fallen powerlines which may be hidden by debris in or around the water.

Residents seeking further information in relation to current flooding issues in regional Queensland should visit the Emergency Management Queensland website at www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq.

Further information from Ergon Energy about electrical safety in floods can be found at www.ergon.com.au.


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