Hundred Sydney homes without power after severe storms lashed Sydney and the Central Coast last week. The category 3 cyclone has brought forecasts of more wild weather with gale-force winds, huge surf, and heavy rain.
Ausgrid, the electricity provider said it’s one of the worst storms to ever hit the network in 30 years. Causing 3,200 hazards like large fallen trees and debris. It also brought down more than 180 power poles and over 250 kilometres of power lines across Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Hunter.
Frustrated residents remain without power after being told they will need to wait to have it restored, with hundreds still off the grid after the storms. The company said power had been restored to 139,300 homes, thousands have been without power for up to seven days. Ausgrid said they will need to work more to restore power.
Ausgrid expected outages in some remote locations like Milsons Passage, Calabash Bay, and Scotland Island and that they would provide generators to those still affected.
The ongoing power outages were blamed on shortage of electricians.
According to the NSW branch of the Electrical Trades Union, the massive cut to the number of electricians working at the poles and wires network over the recent years is to blame. They also reiterated that the ongoing blackouts are the result of 5,000 job losses in the electrician sector since 2015. With 5,000 fewer skilled workers to do the job, the restoration will be slow.
The Union said that the staffing at electricity distribution companies that delivers power to most Sydney homes have been steadily decreasing since the government-owned network was sold to a private consortium in 2016. Today, 1,300 jobs in this sector are at risk by the union over the next three years.
The federal government’s Australia Energy Regulator must also be blamed for the thousands of Sydney homes without power because the regulator had imposed massive cuts across the NSW electricity network in recent years.
But while Ausgrid, said it brought in additional crews from across the country to get Sydney homes without power to be reconnected, they warned the customers to prepare for outages until the end of the week.
Arcadia, Padstow, and Gladesville are among the hardest hit suburbs where many trees had fallen. The problem has been fallen trees, with many toppling days after the storms and taking down power lines, often after the power was restored.
Ausgrid deployed additional crews from Victoria, Queensland, And South Australia and other tree trimming crews are joining the effort. They even asked all levels of government for assistance for extra tree clearing resources. Workers from Tasmania and State Emergency Service volunteers are also helping remove hazards.
The company urged the public not to approach any fallen trees or powerlines. Always assume that the powerlines are live. NSW Police reminded people to stay away from trees and power lines after six people received non-life-threatening shocks.
This weekend the crews were undergoing works at dozens of sites focused on Sydney’s northern suburbs and the Central Coast, with other suburbs requiring multiple jobs due to the widespread outages. The company said there were still some challenges including severe damage, remote access difficulties, and complex rectification jobs.
Hundreds of staff have been working full time each day to restore power. Ausgrid has restored power to most of its customers after the storm with the energy provides now in the final stage of recovery.
Today, most customers are asking about compensation from Ausgrid. According to their website, homes that have experienced a power outage for 12 hours or more in the metropolitan area or more than 18 hours in a non-metropolitan area can make a claim for $80. However, they indicated that interruption to supply relating to severe weather events or emergency situations may be excluded.