Storms & disasters

Weather Event Update - Tropical Cyclone Ita

Bulletin 11 - published 16 April 2014, 11.30am

Ergon Energy will get power to most customers affected by Tropical Cyclone Ita – even those in the hardest hit areas of Far North Queensland – before the Easter long weekend.

Currently 623 customers remain without supply and power will be restored to most of these today or tomorrow from the grid or by generator. 

Power was restored to about 400 customers overnight in the Quarantine Bay area south of Cooktown, and rural areas towards Hopevale and Helenvale.

Cooktown township has 27 customers off supply due to some low voltage damage. These customers will have supply by today.

The Hopevale community and surrounds has 265 customers off supply, most of whom will be restored by this afternoon.

Wujal Wujal, Bloomfield, Ayton and surrounds have around 250 customers off supply.

The Pegasus generation unit has been delivered to Bloomfield and is being connected to provide supply to customers in the Wujal Wujal, Bloomfield and Ayton areas while crews work to re-establish the distribution network in the area.

The Helenvale township area has the greatest number of complex faults. While power we will be restored progressively, full restoration may not be completed until tomorrow night.

Additional generation will be provided at Rossville today where supply has not been made available from the network.

Generation is already available in Hopevale, Wujal Wujal and Rossville areas to much of the community and residential areas where possible.

The Mossman area has 41 customers off supply, predominantly in the Upper Daintree.

Forest Creek work has been delayed due to the Daintree barge not being in service. Crews are in this area to repair the distribution network this morning.

Stewart's Creek has about 10 customers off supply and generation will be provided while Ergon attempts to access the area and do repairs with a view to having network restored tonight.

There are some properties throughout the area that may require repairs before they are safe to reconnect.

These customers must engage a licensed electrical contractor if their home or business premises' wiring, switchboard or mains connection has been damaged or inundated by flooding, to ensure it is electrically safe.

 Restoration process for power

  • After a cyclone passes, Ergon Energy assesses the damage to its network, quickly formulates a restoration plan and begins the restoration process once it is safe to do so.
  • Our priority is firstly the safety of the public and Ergon Energy staff, followed by the speedy restoration of power.
  • Restoration will be planned and deployed starting at the top of the network and working down.
  • Transmission lines and substations are the priority repairs, followed by Ergon Energy's distribution network - our substations and high voltage network first, then our low voltage network, and finally individual customer premises.
  • Critical infrastructure is a priority - hospitals, nursing homes, sewage and water treatment plants, and shopping centres/supermarkets.
  • Areas of high population concentration are prioritised as we are able to get the highest number of customers restored in the shortest space of time. Customers in the outer locations are prioritised after this.
  • Planning for temporary generator supply is well advanced with generators of varying capacities on standby in the high risk areas.

Electrical safety

Residents in the potentially affected areas are being urged to Be safe, Make Safe and Stay Safe during Cyclone Ita:

  • Clear your yard of, or tie down, loose items such as roofing iron and outdoor furniture which can become dangerous missiles and pose a threat to powerlines and people in strong winds.
  • Have an emergency kit prepared - torch and batteries, water containers, canned food, bottled water, a can opener and self-contained cooking facilities. A battery-powered radio is also essential for important advice for cyclone response related information.
  • Have at least one traditional analogue phone (cord phone) in your home that does not require electricity to operate. Cordless phones and phones with built-in answering machines will not operate if power is interrupted. Mobile phones should be kept fully charged.
  • Unplug electrical devices and appliances to protect them from potential electrical damage.
  • Stay indoors during a cyclone.
  • Stay away from fallen powerlines and warn others to do the same and report them to emergency services on 000 or contact Ergon Energy on 13 22 96.
  • Don't swim in floodwaters as they could hide fallen powerlines. Keep children out of the water.
  • Use generators correctly and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Ergon is reminding customers to ensure they have unplugged or turned off appliances like stoves, hotplates or irons in premises without power.

If your power goes out, from the safety of your own home or workplace, look out the window and if you can see or hear something that could help identify the problem, like hanging powerlines or a loud bang, stay well clear and contact us on 13 22 96. Precise details will assist our emergency crews to restore power.

In case of a life threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000) or 13 16 70.

Remember, during a storm or cyclone or when the power is out, telephone lines may be congested or damaged so please be patient.

Any electrical faults, including brown outs, might be caused by fallen powerlines. Always assume fallen powerlines are live. Stay well clear and warn others.

Our preparation for storm & cyclone season

How Ergon Energy prepares for storm and cyclone season to reduce disruptions to power supply and keep the community and our employees safe.

Restoring your power

When we're working to restore power, the safety of the public and our employees is our top priority. Read about the plans we have in place to restore power after a storm or power disruption.

Cyclones

Cyclones are a fact of life for northern coastal Queenslanders. Read some tips on how to prepare for a cyclone.

Storm facts

Some interesting facts from the Bureau of Meteorology about severe storms.

Storm & cyclone safety

Simple preparations can help keep you safe during a storm or emergency situation. This information can help you to be ready.

Flood safety

Flooding following storms can have major impacts on the electricity network and your home. Flood water is also dangerous and this information can help you to stay Always Safe.

Solar power safety

Find out more about solar power system safety before, during and after a flood event.

Emergency preparation checklists

These checklists can help you be prepared for natural disasters.

Generator safety & use

A portable generator can help life get back to normal during a power outage but using it safely is essential.

Financial support & useful emergency links

Following a State-declared natural disaster, financial assistance may be available through the Department of Communities. These links can also provide information about services available during and following a disaster.

Our CARE Program

Read about our Cyclone Area Reliability Enhancement (CARE) Program which aims to improve the reliability of power supply and reduce the risk of damage in cyclone-prone areas.

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