Ergon gets supply back on ahead of schedule

Published: 2 Mar 2015 5:45pm

Just 10 days after Cyclone Marcia exacted her fury on the Capricorn Coast and Rockhampton region, all power has been restored to affected customers, where it is safe to do so.

Crews have continued to operate in smaller, remote, rural pockets today. All customers are back on supply either by network or generation support by the end of of today - a day ahead of scheduled restoration Incident Response Manager Steve Leighton said.

In parallel with this crews are moving around the area on mass reconnecting premises that have had structural damage repaired by contractors and have been deemed safe to re supply.

Generation support has been offered to customers in areas where the damage to our network is such that sections of it have to be rebuilt.

"The Byfield community is being supplied by one of our high voltage Pegasus network injection units which will supply the small community north of Yeppoon while some 30 kms of damaged network is rebuilt – a task expected to take about an week and a half to complete.

A similar unit was used to supply customers form Marlborough through to Clairview while the front end of the network was repaired.

"Considering where we were on Friday 20 February after Marcia cut her destructive path through the region knocking out power to over 65,000 customers, it is a great position to be in and to have played such a vital role in getting the community back on its feet and back to normality."

"Full credit for this result must go to the many hundreds of workers from across the State who arrived on mass to help the most heavily impacted centres of Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast out. A truly amazing job in pretty arduous conditions, an effort not lost on the surrounding communities who were so very thankful and appreciative of the job these crews did considering the daunting task they faced initially."

"The reception and reaction from the community as crews worked throughout the area progressively restoring power was truly outstanding and the numerous acts of generosity, kindness, support, goodwill and appreciation from the public was heart warming to witness, particularly at a time when most people had their own share of adversity and harrowing experiences to deal with."   

Ergon's restoration team grew steadily up to1,000 field staff (Ergon from all across regional Queensland, Energex from the south east and Contractors) working out of two staging posts at Western Street Army Barracks and the Mecure grounds at Yeppoon. A small army of support staff behind the scenes were equally vital to the success of the restoration exercise managing the response and ensuring the crews were fed, watered and housed.

Mr Leighton said over there was immense damage done to Ergon's network with over 2300 power lines brought down by the cyclonic winds that accompanied Marcia.

Initial work was to firstly assess and scope the damage and make safe the numerous incidents of fallen power lines.

"It really was a case of having to start at the start and end at the end" he said.

"We had to firstly re establish high voltage supply to our major zone substations so that we could then commence getting power back into the cities, towns, suburbs and rural locations. Priority was then given to feeders that supply sewerage and water pumping stations followed by hospitals and major supermarkets – in other words, things that sustain a community in the initial stages."

By the middle of last week (Wednesday 25/2/15) Ergon reached the half way point in restoring power to the community and by weeks end all major urban centres had been re supplied and the focus then shifted to the outlying rural centres. In parallel with the restoration effort a lot of work was put into ensuring that the smaller outlying communities had access to information on restoration progress in their areas with Ergon, local Council and other emergency staff conducting community meetings throughout the region.

"It is great to have reached the final hurdle ahead of schedule particularly as initial projections based on previous cyclone experience were that power could be out for up to two weeks."

"As we demobilise our restoration effort and crews return to their home bases across Queensland, I am sure they take with them fond memories of their time in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast and a community that rose up together to show mutual generosity of spirit in times of adversity."

A job well done all round!

Media Contact: Bob Pleash, Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: 49327327 or 0419714270

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