Power Outage: What To Do in an ESB Power Outage

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Experiencing a power outage is always a scary experience. When your devices suddenly turn off at the most inconvenient moments, it can be frustrating waiting for the power to come back on. In our complete guide, we’ll walk you through what to do during an ESB power outage, how to report them, and how best to cope until the power comes back.

What Are Power Outages?

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Power outages are where the power supply is either partially or completely cut off from our homes and businesses. Often they are very small, only affecting an Eircode area or single street, but on rare occasions they can even be entire cities. In any event, power outages usually don’t last very long, but it’s best to have a good idea of what to do if you are affected, especially if you are a vulnerable customer.

Why Do Power Outages Happen?

Power outages are very normal. Since the entire purpose of the energy market is to make sure you can flick a switch and the lights come on at any time you need it, it’s natural they’re might be some slip ups. These are the causes of the smaller power outages where there’s a brief failure in getting the right supply to the right houses. In bigger power outages, it could be due to something more serious such as damaged electrical infrastructure due to a storm or snowfall.

What Types of Power Outages Are There?

Generally speaking, there are two types of power outages that will occur: planned and unplanned. These have different causes and you should be aware of both so you’re aware of how long it might take to get your power back:

  1. Planned Power Outage
    A planned power outage is usually a routine cut off of the power supply by ESB networks so that they can carry out important maintenance on the grid or on ISEM. You will be informed ahead of time so you can make arrangements while the power is off. You will usually be able to see all upcoming planned power outages on the ESB website.
  2. Unplanned Power Outage
    Unplanned power outages are usually sudden and unexpected due to the line being damaged. These can go on for much longer than planned power cuts and are usually caused by weather conditions such as heavy snowfall, flooding or storms. These are also the hardest to repair since engineers usually need to be sent out immediately while the bad weather is still going on.

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How Can I Tell I Have a Power Outage?

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If your power goes out all of a sudden, it’s very likely that you’ve got a power outage. However, although a power outage is the most rational reason, it might be due to something else just related to your home. If this is the case, you want to eliminate the possibility of being a singular problem to your property.

How Can I Check a Power Outage in My Area?

There are many ways to check if you’ve got a power outage in your area. Since a power outage rarely just affects one house, you’ll be able to tell simply by looking out the window of your home to see if other people’s houses or flats have lost power. Here are the best ways to check a power outage in your area:

  1. Ask Your Neighbours
    Though the power in your house might be out, you can always text or knock on your neighbour’s doors to find out what’s going on. You might not have access to your broadband network, but you might have access to your mobile network instead.
  2. Check the ESB Website
    The quickest way is to check the ESB website where you can use the ESB power outage map. You can also have a look at the ESB networks Twitter or Facebook feeds to find out whether your outage is planned or not.

What Is the ESB Power Outage Map?

The ESB power outage map is an incredibly useful tool for checking whether you have a power outage in your area. The ESB power outage map gives you a clear view of all the power issues that might be occurring in Ireland in real time. You can use your postcode to see if you have had a power outage near you and you check on the status of a planned outage. You can also double check the Gas Networks website to see if your gas supply has been interrupted as well and wheter you need a gas registered engineer.

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What Should I Do in a Power Outage?

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When a power outage hits, it’s quite often unexpected and it can be very frustrating, especially if you’re right in the middle of something. However, you shouldn’t worry since most power outages don’t last that long, but in any event it’s best to know what to do when it comes.

What Do I Need To Do in a Power Outage?

In a power outage, you should make sure you do the following:

  • Check Your Mains
    Always double check your mains to see if you’ve blown a fuse at all. It might be the case that you don’t have a cable outage at all and you’ve just had an electrical appliance go crazy and your safety fuse has cut the electricity to prevent an electrical fire.
  • Turn Off Your Electrical Appliances
    Turn off all your electrical appliances to prevent them from short circuiting before the power comes back on. You can always try turning a light on and off to see whether the power has come back on or not.
  • Keep the Fridge Closed
    You should keep the fridge closed so your food inside stays cold. In the event of a power outage, your food will remain cold for at least another 4 hours. If you open the fridge, you stop it from keeping your food insulated.
  • Check Your Prepay Balance
    If you’re on a prepay meter and your power has just gone out, you can check your meter or online account to double check whether you’ve just run out of credit. Make sure you top up regularly to avoid losing power.

What Should I Not Do During a Power Outage?

Of course, power outages can be dangerous situations that can cause all sorts of dangerous situations so you should also be careful with what you do when it comes to a blackout. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t Use Candles
    Although it’s tempting to use candles, don’t use them as the primary source of light for your home during a power outage. With a lot of lit candles, you risk getting your house on fire. Only use candles sparingly for some light in your home.
  • Don’t Try and Fix Your Mains
    It’s very likely not a problem with your mains if you have a power outage so don’t try and fix it yourself. If you’re worried about your electricity supply being the main issue, contact a professional electrician to solve the problem for you.
  • Don’t Leave Your Home Unsecured
    Don’t leave your home during a powercut. Usually during power outages, you’re more likely to experience a break in or a robbery so try and stay at home until the power comes back on.
  • Don’t Use Generators Indoors
    If you have an independent generator, don’t use it indoors since they can exhaust toxic fumes like carbon monoxide into your home. If you need to use one, use it outside.

Can solar panels help in the event of a power outage? Solar panels can help you maintain a secondary power supply during a power outage. If you have solar panels, your property can run off your solar energy until the power comes back on. You can even add a solar panel battery to have a back up power supply for your home. This is also useful for business and farm energy customers.

What About Vulnerable Customers in a Power Outage?

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If you’re a vulnerable customer, you are usually more at risk when there are power outages. For many vulnerable customers, having a reliable electricity supply is extremely important if they need it for medical equipment such as a life support machine. As a vulnerable customer, you do have certain guarantees in the event of a power outage.

What Is the ESB Networks Vulnerable Customer Policy?

ESB networks has a policy in place for vulnerable customers. When you sign up to an energy supplier, you will be asked whether you will want to put on the register to be identified as a priority in case of a power outage. This registration is also a requirement from the CRU (formally the CER). You’ll also get advanced warning in the case of planned outages communicated to you by ESB networks. This is all part of the ESB network's vulnerable customer policy.

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