POWER TROUBLES: Ergon Energy says the outages have been caused by a number of factors. Photo: Evan Morgan
POWER TROUBLES: Ergon Energy says the outages have been caused by a number of factors. Photo: Evan Morgan

Energy company reacts to customers left in the dark

THE many residents questioning what is happening with power outages, Ergon Energy has responded to the queries.

Communications Advisor Brett Judge said Ergon Energy understood and appreciated customer frustration with any unplanned power outage and was committed to restoring supply to its customers as quickly as possible.

"Ergon Energy has a works program in place to improve the reliability of the electricity to the area and while this will not eliminate outages all together, this work will allow Ergon Energy to locate and isolate faults quicker and may reduce the duration of the outage events, resulting in improved restoration and response times for any localised problems," he said.

"When weather conditions allow, Ergon Energy conducts a helicopter aerial assessment of the section of network affected during the outages as an extra measure to identify potential issues."

A review of unplanned outages to customers in the Blackbutt area since December shows the majority were caused by network protection equipment being triggered by vegetation or animals coming into contact with powerlines.

"At the time of the most recent outages, between 7am on Saturday February 8 and Midnight Sunday February 9, there were 8529 lightning strikes within a 50km Radius of Blackbutt," he said.

"Some of these were momentary outages caused by the protection system.

"There were also outages caused by a tree bringing down lines and storm damage and a broken cross arm on a pole during this period."

"The powerline that supplies power to this area is classified as a long rural feeder which extends approximately 20 kilometres from Yarraman Substation.

"This line presents Ergon Energy with a number of challenges because of its length and high exposure to weather events and customers on this line are more susceptible to outages.

He said Ergon Energy advised people to always treat fallen powerlines as live, stay well away, warn others in the area and report them to emergency services on triple-0.

Fallen powerlines can be hidden in tree branches and other debris, so he warned people to be aware of this life-threatening hazard.

Ergon Energy encouraged customers to report any trees growing close to powerlines by calling 13 22 96.