UNITED Energy said its crews were making “steady progress” in restoring power to its remaining 3400 customers – many on the Mornington Peninsula – affected by the Friday 29 October storms.
However, the company warned that, while it was expecting to get most of its customers back up by Friday 5 November, there “will still be some customers affected by the single-premise outages who will be off into the weekend”.
That would be another frustrating blow for residents hit by more than the loss of electric light over the past week. Many, especially in hillside communities, rely on power to provide water as they have no mains water, gas or sewerage. Public toilets were said to be overflowing.
Nearly all private phone and internet services were affected as they run via phone towers. After losing power on Saturday, and with back-up batteries running out, residents and businesses had no phone or internet (“Tensions rise over loss of power” The News 2/11/21).
Last weekend, businesses expecting bumper crowds post-lockdown lost supplies of fresh food after their cool rooms lost power.
“We were able to get power back on to more than 2000 homes and businesses yesterday and throughout the night,” Mr Oliver said. “We’ve restored power to more than 250,000 customers throughout this event.”
The power provider said its 200 field teams on the ground Wednesday 3 November were being supported by control room operators, call centre staff and technical specialists, as well as field crews from Powercor.
Major repair and construction work was said to be under way at Red Hill, Frankston, Sorrento and other parts of the Mornington Peninsula.
“Our crews are responding to more than 2000 different faults, including repairing 945 wires across the south-eastern suburbs and the peninsula,” Mr Oliver said.
The power provider was monitoring a storm front crossing the Mornington Peninsula on Wednesday. “Strong gusts may cause already unstable branches and trees to fall onto power lines and lead to further outages,” Mr Oliver said.
“We encourage customers to prepare for new power outages and know what to do if the power does go out.”
Customers were warned to watch for fallen power lines and report their location on 13 20 99.
“We know this is extraordinarily tough for everyone who remains without power,” Mr Oliver said.
“We want to assure all of our customers that our number one priority is getting power back on.”