Crews prepare for Rockhampton flood
Published: 7 Apr 2017 11:27am
Update: 11am, Friday, April 7:
Crews have begun restoring power to customers in Rockhampton after the Fitzroy River peaked slightly lower than forecast.
However, with the floodwaters still near their peak, power has been reinstated to only a small number of customers at this point.
Crews will continue to individually assess when homes can be safely reconnected to the network this afternoon and throughout the weekend as floodwaters begin to recede more quickly.
Customers whose switchboards or wiring have been inundated will need to arrange for an electrical contractor to check their property to confirm it is safe for Ergon to reconnect supply.
Update: 3pm, Wednesday, April 5:
Ergon crews have disconnected the power supply to about 350 residences in Rockhampton as floodwater continue to rise ahead of a predicted peak tomorrow morning.
Crews have disconnected supply to about a dozen customers today and, while they will continue to make individual property assessments in flood-prone areas this afternoon, they do not expect to make any further disconnections ahead of the Fitzroy reaching its peak.
Crews will be on standby, including throughout the weekend, to progressively reconnect homes as soon as the floodwaters have receded sufficiently for this to be safe.
Customers whose switchboards or wiring are inundated will need to arrange for an electrical contractor to check their property to confirm it is safe for Ergon to reconnect supply.
Original release: 5.30pm, Monday, April 3:
Ergon Energy has disconnected about 260 residential customers in Rockhampton as crews prepare for rising floodwaters expected to inundate low-lying parts of the city this week.
A smaller number of customers is expected to be disconnected tomorrow and possibly on Wednesday prior to the Fitzroy River reaching its peak flood level.
While some of these properties are experiencing only minor flooding so far, crews needed to act during daylight hours today while they could get into the areas with their equipment before the streets become flooded tomorrow.
The majority of disconnections will be to individual properties where flooding is expected to inundate switchboards or the wiring on a customer’s property.
Crews will also de-energise a small number of powerlines where there is insufficient clearance from the floodwaters to ensure community safety, including for emergency services personnel who will continue to work in the flooded areas in coming days.
Most residents affected by de-energised lines will experience flooding of their properties and will be evacuating their homes.
Ergon has worked with other emergency authorities door-knocking flood-prone areas to give residents advance warning that their power supply was likely to be disconnected.
Ergon has mobilised 70 crews into Rockhampton to implement its flood strategy for the city.
The community should always be vigilant to the dangers presented by flooding, including the possibility of fallen powerlines hidden in rising water.
Residents in flood-prone areas are also reminded to:
- Arrange for a licensed electrical contractor to disconnect any fixed appliances, such as hot water systems and ground-mounted air-conditioning systems, that are at risk of being inundated by floodwaters.
- Not use switches or electrical appliances that are wet.
- Not use any electrical appliance or installation with wet hands, or if they are standing in water.
- Switch off appliances at the wall if there is a threat of water entering the premises.
- Have any appliances or wiring which have been wet checked by a qualified electrician before use.
Solar PV safety
When preparing for a flood event, it is important to always follow correct shutdown procedures. These should be located at the inverter and/or on the main switchboard.
A general shutdown procedure is as follows:
1. Turn off the inverter AC mains isolator (usually found in the meter box).
2. Turn off the PV array isolator (usually found next to the inverter).
3. If there is a risk the water could reach up to the inverters and cables, also arrange to turn off the roof-top array isolator (if fitted).
Customers who are unsure of the shutdown procedure should contact the manufacturer or installer.
Use generators with particular care – including not connecting a generator to household wiring unless a proper isolation system has been set up by an electrician to ensure power is not fed back into Ergon Energy’s system.
Ensure generators are only used in an outdoor environment with plenty of ventilation to avoid the dangers of exhaust fumes in confined spaces.
AFTER THE FLOOD
If a home's wiring, switchboard or service line connection to the building have been inundated with water, either to wall level or around the switchboard, the owner (including landlords) will need to contact a licensed electrical contractor.
It is their job to ensure the installation is safe and ready for reconnection.
Once the necessary checks and repairs are made, the electrical contractor will complete the paperwork required for Ergon Energy to reconnect. This ensures a premise is not reconnected unless it is safe to do so.
If Ergon Energy is not advised by a licensed electrical contractor that a property is safe to be reconnected, and crews determine there could be a safety risk, they will leave a Form B at the property.
This will advise the customer they need to arrange an electrical contractor to carry out the necessary checks and make any repairs required.
Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072