Freak storm cuts power in Chinchilla

Published: 23 Mar 2015 2:11pm

Crews are confident of reinstating supply to all customers in the Chinchilla district by tonight after a freak hail storm wreaked havoc on the area on Saturday afternoon.

The storm has been described by Chinchilla crews as the worst they have experienced in more than 20 years with hail as large as tennis balls, cyclonic-level wind gusts, lightning and a deluge of rain.

The outcome was widespread damage to the network, including high- and low-voltage fuses apparently knocked out by the hail, plus multiple power lines brought down as tree branches were blown into them.

Local crews responded as soon as they could safely venture out on Saturday evening and they were supported yesterday by colleagues from Warwick, Toowoomba, St George, Roma and Dalby, while further crews from Toowoomba have returned today.

The initial priorities were restoring the major feeder lines and responding to calls reporting life-threatening situations before attending to dozens of calls from customers whose service lines were damaged.

A major focus for today is replacing blown transformers, including in some areas where customers are being back-fed from other feeder lines as an interim measure, as well as the remaining pockets of individual customers without supply.

Work will continue throughout the week to repair damage on non-critical parts of the network, such as those supplying irrigation pumps.

As well as affecting most customers in the Chinchilla district, the storm also damaged a transformer on the line between Chinchilla and Miles substation, resulting in about 3000 customers having their supply interrupted until crews could isolate that section of the line.

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

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