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Ergon crews rise to the challenge of wet Central Queensland

Published: 4 Feb 2016 2:55pm

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We have been getting hammered by afternoon storms and heavy rainfall limiting access.

This was part of a communication this morning from Longreach-based Work Group Leader Mick Bichsel explaining the situation facing western Ergon Energy crews.

We’ve managed to get most customers back on, with a couple of exceptions,” Mick explained in his report from the field.

The Thompson river is in low-level flood which means that the only way we can get across it is at Longreach, all the lower level crossings downstream are under water,” he said.

When the some of the detail around network repairs in the Longreach, Isisford and Stonehenge areas of Central Queensland over the last 48 hours are explained, the realities faced by Ergon field crews becomes very clear.

Ergon Customer Delivery Manager Chester Brodie said crews had been responding to multiple storm-related impacts on the network in recent days, with the Longreach district proving the tyranny of distance often dealt the toughest challenges.

“Crews attempted to use a helicopter to fly in a temporary power pole to fix a SWER line south of Longreach yesterday, but the attempt was aborted due to fuel margins being too fine for a safe flight,” Mr Brodie explained.

An Ergon team will attempt to drive in gear closer today, then use air support to get crews and equipment into the repair site.

“There is a similar situation on a SWER line south of Isisford where crews will attempt to ferry a temporary power pole closer so that it can be choppered the rest of the way across flooded ground,” Mr Brodie said.

Two SWER lines were still off yesterday (SWER lines are a single-wire style of conductor used extensively across remote areas) and another three were affected overnight according to Ergon.

While the actual customer numbers are small in this part of Ergon’s territory, the dedication to restoring their power is no small task.

Attached photos: An Ergon field crew worker took the attached photos from one of nine flights ferrying temporary poles by helicopter yesterday. This was over a creek in the Stonehenge area flooding a local road and surrounding paddocks.

Media Contact: Mark Timmerman
Phone: (07) 4432 8731

Flooding view from helicopter
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