Power outages and all-electric homes: what you need to know

Blackouts or interruptions to power supply can affect any home from time to time.

Find out what to consider about power outages when transitioning to an all-electric home.

In Victoria, power outages are rare, but can affect all homes connected to the grid. Your supply of gas or electricity may have occasional interruptions.

Events that cause power outages are varied. Examples include severe weather, car accidents, trees falling on power lines, unexpected technical faults, maintenance work, or (on rare occasions) the need to balance supply and demand in the electricity grid.

All-electric homes run on modern electric appliances rather than inefficient gas-powered appliances. This means they can be more affected than dual-fuel (gas and electric) homes when temporary interruptions to the electricity supply occur, because electric cooktops, heating and hot water systems won’t work.

However, there are many reasons to electrify your home, and many ways to prepare for occasional outages as well.

What are your backup power options?

If having access to backup power during outages is important to your household, there are options.

Solar batteries

The best way to have backup power available in an emergency is through installing a solar battery with backup functionality along with solar panels (PV).

Solar panels generate electricity from the sun on your roof during daylight hours. A solar battery can store excess solar energy for you to use when you need it, rather than it going into the grid.

It’s important to be aware that not all solar systems have backup functionality for outages. If your system (with or without a battery) is connected to the grid, it may be designed to switch off during a power outage. This is to protect homes from power surges and protect the people who may be working on nearby electricity lines.

However, some solar PV and battery systems are designed so that they can be isolated from the grid and continue to provide stored energy to your home. This is known as ‘islanding’. Typically, these systems are set up to provide power for certain things such as lights and your fridge.

If you would like to be able to run essential appliances on solar power during outages, talk to your installer about the best system setup to meet your needs.


Power generators that run on fossil fuels like gas, diesel or LPG are also available. These can vary in size and upfront cost. They will have ongoing operating costs (for fuel) and produce greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, solar panels produce free, clean energy, and with a solar battery you can store energy for when you need it most. That means you can benefit from your solar system every night after the sun goes down, as well as during any power outage.

Future options

In the future, you may be able to use your car to power your home. Some electric vehicles have bidirectional charging capability, so they can supply energy back to the grid from their EV battery. This means the car’s battery can effectively function like a home battery. This would offer two advantages: EV batteries typically have several times more capacity than home batteries, and you could be putting your car to work even when you’re not driving it.

As at early 2024, these are not yet available in Australia, but may be another way you could eventually store energy for backup power during a temporary power outage. For now, the best option is installing a suitably-sized home battery.

Tips for power outages

If you don’t have backup power, here are some tips for the rare occasions when your gas or electricity supply is interrupted. These apply whether you live in an all-electric or dual-fuel home:

  • Consider having a barbecue or camp stove on hand for cooking or boiling water if your gas or electricity supply is interrupted.
  • Have a fully charged power bank available to recharge your mobile phone.
  • Keep torches or candles and matches on hand for light.
  • Unplug appliances when the power goes out in case there’s a power spike when supply is restored, and check that anything that heats up (like your oven) is turned off to avoid fire risks.

What about gas appliances?

Some people are hesitant to upgrade to an all-electric home because of concerns about using a single energy source to power their home and not having access to gas for cooking and heating water should the electricity supply be interrupted.

These can be addressed by investing in a solar system and battery (with backup functionality) or using the other advice on this page.

Some things to consider are:

  • Not all gas appliances work during electricity outages. For example, modern gas heating systems have electric fans, and most modern gas hot water systems require electricity for their ignition. Both gas and energy-efficient electric hot water systems (heat pumps and solar hot water) that have a storage tank may provide some warm water during an outage, until it cools down or you use it up.
  • Energy-efficient electric appliances are much cheaper to run than gas equivalents, and they can even be powered for free with solar, so you can save significant amounts on energy costs all year round by choosing electric over gas.
  • Power outages are rare in most Victorian households. Think about how often your home is affected. The savings and other benefits of switching gas appliances to electric may outweigh the occasional inconvenience of outages.
  • Electric heating and cooking are also safer, cleaner options, creating a healthier environment inside your home and reducing emissions (especially when powered by solar).

With an all-electric, solar-powered home and a battery with backup functionality, you can enjoy all the benefits of cheaper, cleaner living, as well as greater energy independence.

Get support from Solar Victoria with solar PV rebates, interest-free battery loans and comprehensive information on making the switch to an all-electric home.


Make the switch to electric

All-electric homes, powered by solar, can save you thousands on energy bills every year. Find out everything you need to know about making the switch.