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Hundreds of crews move closer to cyclone zone

Published: 27 Mar 2017 3:46pm

About 550 Ergon Energy and Energex staff and contractors from southern Queensland are being pre-deployed to be part of an initial response team of more than 800 energy workers ready to respond after Cyclone Debbie’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

Energy Queensland Chief Operating Officer Paul Jordon said the advance deployment included 475 field crews driving their trucks north so they could support local crews in the restoration effort as soon as it was safe for them to do so.

“This advance contingent, together with crews based between Cairns and Rockhampton, provides us with more than 800 staff ready to respond promptly once the cyclonic conditions have eased,” he said.

Mr Jordon said the advance party also included vegetation contractors, support staff and members of the generation team.

“Ergon has established staging posts in Cairns and Rockhampton, safely outside the cyclone watch areas, but close enough to lend assistance quickly once the immediate danger has passed,” he said.

“Some crews stayed in Rockhampton last night and are driving to Townsville today, while further Ergon and Energex field and support crews are on their way to the Rockhampton staging post today, where they will remain until they can be deployed into cyclone-affected areas.”

Mr Jordon said Ergon’s advance contingent included staff from most depots in southern Queensland, including the Toowoomba, Millmerran, Warwick, Stanthorpe, Dalby, Chinchilla, Tara,  Roma, St George, Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Kingaroy, Emerald, Springsure, Clermont and Middlemount depots.

“More than 200 Energex staff from South-East Queensland have been deployed in advance, continuing the long-standing tradition of crews from the two network operations working side-by-side in responding to disasters in either area,” he said.

“This will be the first major event since Ergon and Energex were merged to form Energy Queensland in July, meaning the response will be further integrated.

“Ergon has also contacted interstate counterparts to ask them to be on standby in case reinforcements are needed from further afield.”

Mr Jordon said the decision to send as many crews as possible into the disaster zone had been carefully balanced with the need to retain sufficient crews at depots across the state to respond to any unexpected events that occurred during the cyclone response.

Media Contact: Rod Rehbein
Phone: 4153 9813 or 0407 031 072