If you have a power cut, you should first check whether the problem is general or individual.
A power cut may be a general problem, but it may also occur just in your home. If you notice that the entire neighbourhood is without power, then there is a problem with the distribution grid. In that case, contact Sibelga on 02 274 40 66.
If the problem is just in your home, then the power cut has been caused by your installation. Here are a few tips on how to track down the problem yourself and in some cases even solve it.
Overloads or short circuits can damage your installation and cause fires. This is why it is protected by circuit breakers or ‘safety fuses’. These react to a power overload if too many appliances are used at once, or if you have a broken appliance or a fault in your installation.
A safety fuse contains a metal wire that melts when a current above a certain value passes through it. It therefore has to be replaced by a new fuse once it has fulfilled its role in protecting the installation.
An automatic circuit breaker, on the other hand, can be used several times, since it can be switched back on each time.
If you no longer have any power in your home, the protection mechanism has been triggered by a broken appliance or because too many appliances were used at the same time.
Once you have pulled out the plug(s) of the appliance or appliances in question, check the protection element in your distribution box (behind the meter).
Still no power? Check the protective device in front of the meter, level with the terminal box.
If the lights or the sockets have stopped working on just one floor, or if a particular appliance won’t come on any more, then the problem lies with a secondary circuit which is also protected by a fuse or a circuit breaker. In that case, follow the same procedure. Ideally your distribution box contains a circuit for:
Differential circuit breaker: extra protection
New installations (after 1981) have differential circuit breakers: one general one, and one for the bathroom circuit. The differential circuit breaker reacts if there is an insulation problem in the installation or the appliance (loss of current), whereas circuit breakers and safety fuses only react to overloads or short circuits.
Take a look at this illustration on a large scale or download it as a pdf file.
(See also: 'Do I have to pay for Sibelga to come out if there is a power cut or the smell of gas?')
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