Power surge could see big compo bill

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mornington power surge 12-12-12 cmyk by yanniUNITED Energy could face claims of hundreds of thousands of dollars following a massive power surge from a Mornington electricity substation on Wednesday morning.

Up to 10,000 properties in Mornington, Mt Mar­tha, Moorooduc and Somerville received 300 volts, 20 per cent more than normal, surging through power lines at about 9am.

The CFA said there had been more than 55 calls for assistance, mostly generated by householders smelling smoke from electrical appliances and smouldering wiring.

The CFA set up an emergency response team at its Moorooduc incident control centre to take calls from 000 and coordinate its response.

Calls were expected throughout the day and early evening as people returned to their homes and discovered damage.

United Energy spokeswoman Lisa Drought told media outlets that wires in fuses, insulation, roofs and appliances could potentially catch fire.

“The repercussions could be very serious if they aren’t noticed,” she said.

Residents were being advised to check appliances for burnt plastic or blackened power points and call United Energy on 1300 131 689 or 000 if it was an emergency.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this fault may have caused,” United Energy stated on its website.

Arthur Haynes of Mornington CFA said many callouts were to homes with hard-wired smoke detectors, some of which had blown out of ceilings.

“There have been no fires reported so far,” he said mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Reports also were received of telephone switchboards being damaged and alarms going off.

Bentons Square shopping centre in Mornington East was evacuated at 9.20am after the surge cut power.

Other commercial and retail outlets were closed for up to four hours.

CFA operations manager Trevor Owen said wash­ing machines, toasters, fridges, lights, ceiling fans, fuse boxes and wiring had all been affected.

“Many residents noticed smoke or a smoke alarm noises coming from neighbours’ homes,” he said.

United Energy said householders wanting to make a claim for appliance damage could call the company or download a claim form from its website: www.unitedenergy.com.au

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