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Power outage… What to do?

What should I do if there is a power cut?

If you have a power cut, you should first check whether the problem is general or individual. 

  • If the whole neighbourhood is without power, then call Sibelga on 02 274 40 66.
  • Do your neighbours have power? In that case, the problem is in your home. The cause may lie in various places. It is also important to know whether your installation is protected with automatic circuit breakers or safety fuses: a circuit breaker can easily be switched back on, whereas a safety fuse has to be replaced once the problem has been established.
    If in doubt, it is best to contact a technician.

Power cut: in your home only or a general malfunction?

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.

Protection with fuses or circuit breakers

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.

Safety fuse

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.


Automatic circuit breaker An automatic circuit breaker, on the other hand, can be used several times, since it can be switched back on each time.



No power at all? Anywhere?

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.

Distribution boxOnce 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).

  • If there is a safety fuse here, replace it. If the power goes off again, contact an electrician.
  • On the other hand, if you have an automatic circuit breaker, switch it back on. If the power goes off again when you use a particular appliance, ask your electrician to check it.


Still no power? Check the protective device in front of the meter, level with the terminal box.Terminal box

  • If there is a circuit breaker there, check that it is on (upwards).
  • If your installation is fairly old, there may still be safety fuses in the box and these may have burnt through. In that case, contact Sibelga on 02 274 40 66. The emergency services will come and replace them.

Has the dishwasher or the light on the first floor stopped working?

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:

  • lighting (one per floor)
  • the specific lighting in the bathroom
  • sockets (maximum of eight per circuit)
  • the sockets in the bathroom
  • the dishwasher
  • the washing machine
  • the warm water
  • the boiler
  • the electric hotplate
  • etc.

Differential circuit breakerDifferential 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.



Diagram of electrical installation

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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