Ergon urges life support customers to register as cyclone season looms

Published: 6 Jan 2016 10:09am

Regional Queenslanders who rely on mains powered life-support equipment are being urged to register or update their details with Ergon Energy’s Life Support program.

“This call is particularly timely especially as the storm season continues and the 2016 cyclone season looms,” said General Manager Distribution Customer Strategy Michael Berndt.

Ergon’s life support program is designed to assist customers who are dependent upon life support equipment which require continuous electricity supply regardless of their electricity retailer.

“Specialist equipment from home dialysis and oxygen machines through to ventilators is used by adults and children with confirmed medical conditions and requires continuous electricity supply.

“There may be genuinely ill people in our communities who are not registered with the program and I urge them to contact Ergon for more information or visit our web site. And those who are registered please make sure your contact details are up to date,” Mr Berndt urged.

Ergon Energy currently has more than 2800 customers registered with its Life Support program, which provides direct notification of planned outages to enable them to plan in advance, along with additional personalised advice in the event of a threat such as an impending cyclone, and if there is a prolonged unplanned outage. 

“We’re seeing increasing demand for our Life Support program, with nearly nine per cent more registered customers now than two years ago. This is partly due to greater awareness and uptake, but also reflects an aging population with more complex health needs and greater risk of disadvantage.

“Under national guidelines, there are no rules requiring people who depend upon equipment like ventilators or dialysis machines, or their carers, to register with electricity retailers, however Ergon recognises it has a moral and operational obligation to safeguard the needs of its customers where it can,” Mr Berndt said.

“For registered customers, Ergon provides quick and easy access to information about power supply interruptions – planned and unplanned - via a dedicated emergency number or from our web site.

“And where possible, we contact and update them with an estimated restoration time when unplanned interruptions occur, enabling them to make alternative arrangements for emergency situations.

“Providing our Life Support customers with information to assist them to develop their own emergency plan is critical. It enables them to make necessary preparations for alternative arrangements if power is interrupted,” Mr Berndt said.

He said Ergon Energy could not guarantee power supply because of factors beyond its control.

“We do everything possible to provide a reliable electricity supply, but sometimes unexpected technical issues or situations arise. For example, storms, strong winds, lightning, wildlife strikes, traffic accidents and even vandalism can disrupt the power supply,” he said.

For more information, customers should contact Ergon Energy for a brochure on 13 10 46 or visit its web site at https://www.ergon.com.au/network/outages-and-disruptions/life-support-program

Media Contact: Mike Hardy
Phone: 0738516326

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