‘We deserve better’: Residents left in the dark speak out
MANY South Burnett residents have been left in the dark after an energy company continues to deflect their inquiries into electricity shortages.
Since December, people living in Blackbutt, Benarkin, Nukku, Teelah, Taromeo, Cherry Creek and Googa Creek have been experiencing power outages for up to 14 hours at a time.
Concerned Blackbutt resident Michelle Taylor said it wasn’t good enough for the community to be experiencing such long periods without power.
“We have a lot of elderly residents and sick people living in our towns,” Mrs Taylor said.
“We are not like Kingaroy or Nanango with well-equipped hospitals.
“When the power goes out, the phone connections go down and we can’t call 000 if there is an emergency. What happens then?
“I think we deserve to know what is going on,” she said.
“We pay the same amount of money for electricity and we are not getting the best service.”
Mrs Taylor said she had written nearly a dozen letters to Ergon Energy for a response about why they were still facing this situation.
“Ergon keeps saying the power outages are caused by branches on lines or storms in the region.
“However, it always happens around the same time and for such long periods of time.
“Last weekend the power went out on Saturday at 5.30pm and on Sunday at 6.30pm.”
“We are lucky that we have a generator but a lot of pensioners can’t afford to go out and just buy one.”
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said the ongoing power issues being experienced by residents in Blackbutt and Benarkin were simply unacceptable.
“While I understand some of the outages have been due to storms and damaged infrastructure, there are prolonged and regular outages which are creating a lot of anxiety and problems for the community,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Not to mention that when the power is out for extended periods, the area also loses mobile reception.
“The loss of communications along with power makes this a real safety concern, especially for those residents with medical issues.
“I think the Blackbutt and Benarkin communities deserve an honest answer.
“We need to know why this state government is prepared to leave a whole community without power for such a long time.”
Mrs Taylor said she hoped the energy company would start to inform the community about what’s happening in their town.
“The field guys who come out and fix our problems are always excellent,” she said.
“Now, Ergon needs to start talking to the public and tell us what’s happening.
“We need better infrastructure and for them to spend some money on upgrades to the grid.
“Either that or tell us we need to use less power at peak times, especially if they are load shedding.
“It’s impacting our lives and someone could potentially die from a lack of power.”
Ergon has been contacted for comment.