More than 22,000 people remain without power three days after wild storms swept through Victoria.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said crews would continue to work over Tuesday’s public holiday but some customers were likely to be without power until the end of the week.
Ms D’Ambrosio said most of the 518,000 customers affected by Friday’s wild weather have had their power restored, but 22,000 customers remained without power on Monday afternoon.
On Monday afternoon 45 NSW State Emergency Service members arrived in Victoria to help local crews with the clean-up.
Storms caused major damage in Victoria last week.
Power retailer United Energy is battling more than 2300 grid faults throughout the Peninsula, in Melbourne’s south-east, with crews slicing up 40-metre gum trees that brought down lines, disrupted the network and threw thousands into darkness before the region’s first long weekend out of lockdown.
“Unfortunately, due to the extensive damage, we are unable to provide accurate restoration times for when power will be back for all of our customers,” spokeswoman Emma Tyner said.
United have deployed more than five times the normal number of fault crews to urgently repair the network, and have reached out to other power distributors to assist reconstruction. But despite these extra measures, some houses will remain without power even by the end of the week.
“Friday’s storm was the largest weather event to hit our network. The damage to poles, wires and other power infrastructure has been extensive and widespread.”
Joe and Dee Caligiuri, owners of Red Hill Pantry and Cellar, have been distributing supplies to stricken locals who have been left without power, water, mobile phone and internet coverage.
With the areas of Red Hill, Red Hill South and Arthur’s Seat expected to be without power until Friday, Ms Caligiuri said there were many in need of help.
“We tried to help everyone,” she said.
“We’re giving out ice, water, some food and drinks, helping people have a little sense of home. Firewood, too, because we’ve had some very cold nights.
“The whole community is just gorgeous people and that’s why we got a generator. We could have just closed, but we didn’t want to do that.
“We have customers who have lived around here for 60 years and they say they’ve never seen this. We’ve had our fair share of storms, but that really was ferocious.”
Ms Caligiuri said many local business owners were looking forward to a very busy weekend after so many months suffering under COVID-19 restrictions and were devastated at not being able to operate in the aftermath of the storm.
“It’s debilitating, it’s so sad because so many businesses were screaming to open, restaurants, B&Bs everyone was so keen to open and now they can’t open, it’s so sad,” she said.
AusNet, the electricity retailer that services eastern Victoria, estimated on Monday afternoon that as many as 15,000 of their customers remained without power after crews worked at the weekend to repair grid damage.
For hundreds of residents in the Dandenongs, it is the second time in four months that they have been without power after massive storms in winter felled trees and downed power lines.
“We apologise for the delay in getting the power back on,” an AusNet spokeswoman said in a statement.
“AusNet is prioritising restoring power to customers in the Dandenong area, where we have around 1000 customers currently without power.”
The retailer said they had reconnected roughly 200,000 customers since the peak of the storm, and that about half of the remaining Dandenong area residents without electricity would be reconnected late on Monday.
“The challenge we’re facing is that we’re finding a lot of single lines down affecting very small numbers of customers, which need to be repaired one by one,” she said, “unfortunately, some customers are likely to still be without power until Wednesday or in extreme cases a bit later.”
Last Friday about 520,000 properties, mostly in Victoria’s east, lost power after damaging wind lashed the state, ripping roofs off homes and causing hundreds of trees to smash over power lines and onto cars.
Get a daily update on the climate summit that will shape our future. Sign up to our Clear Air newsletter here.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article