Person in gloves cleaning leaves from gutter


Whether you’re planning a DIY project or tackling some spring cleaning around the house, it’s important to consider electrical safety before you get started.
1 in 4 Australian homes have solar panels on their roofs. With solar panel installation increasing, it's important to know the risks associated with these before making plans to clean your roof.

Staying safe outside

If you’re working outside or on the roof, always look up to locate powerlines and wires above before starting. Tasks such as cleaning gutters or painting awnings can be dangerous if you're working too close to powerlines. Be especially aware of the service wire that connects your property to the electricity network. 

Electricity lines can also run underground. Be careful of striking electricity lines when working in the garden, building fences, or driving stakes into the ground.

Before You Dig Australia provides free access to plans and information on the underground electrical lines on your property. Check what's on your property before commencing work, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

working on or around your roof

What’s a safe distance? Stay as far away as possible from electricity lines when maintaining your roof and cleaning your guttering. If possible, clean gutters with a wooden broom handle or another wooden or plastic object that doesn't conduct electricity.

Solar Panels

Australia leads the world in watts per capita for rooftop PV solar. With more than 3.9 million rooftop solar power systems installed in Australia in the past 20 years, approximately one in four homes have solar panels on their roof.

  • While solar is great for the environment, extra caution is needed when working around panels.
  • Be careful not to touch solar panels during roof repairs, gutter cleaning, or when working with ladders. 
  • Solar panels generate electricity and can give a nasty electric shock if the wiring or the terminal output is touched.
  • Be sure to leave solar panel repairs to the professionals.

Find out more about staying safe around solar panels.


If trees are growing close to powerlines or have the potential to fall on or near powerlines, hire a professional arborist.  Find out more about  trees and powerlines on your property.


If your ladders and gardening tools are metal, they will conduct electricity. Where possible, use a wooden ladder and garden tools with wooden handles. Don't allow any part of you or your equipment to touch electrical wires or connections.

  • Always look up and locate powerlines when working around the home or carrying tall objects. You are at risk when using tools and when moving anything that is tall enough to strike powerlines.
  • Before using a power tool, check that the lead and plug are in good condition. If you see signs of damage, frayed wires for example, have it repaired before using it. 
  • Keep tools and cords out of the rain and away from wet areas. If possible, avoid cords altogether by using battery-powered tools. 
  • Portable safety switches can be bought from most hardware stores and are recommended for protection when using power tools.

Your electricity meter

Never interfere with the electricity meter or divert electricity from the main powerlines to your home. It's not only illegal, but also extremely dangerous. The results can lead to serious property damage, severe injury or possibly death.

In an emergency call 000

your electricity distributor

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Check your electricity distributor's website or social media for updates on power outages.
Electricity distributors in Australia have resources including outage maps that can be accessed online. Many also give live updates via social media.
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Contact your electricity distributor to report fallen wires or damaged poles and powerlines.
If you notice an electrical hazard, report it to your electricity distributor immediately, either online or by phone.