29 July 2022

Essential Energy defends Goulburn winter power cut for maintenance

| John Thistleton
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worker climbs power pole

The timing of power network maintenance in Goulburn has been questioned. Photo: PK Fawcett.

A Goulburn resident has questioned why Essential Energy has scheduled network maintenance in winter, which is set to leave more than 1000 customers without power for a day on Sunday, 7 August.

“A very large number of Goulburn and regional residents should have, by now, received a text from Essential Energy regarding this,” the resident said in an email to Region Media.

“Goulburn’s average minimum temperature for this day, 7 August, over the previous 31 years (ref: BoM) is 0.5°C.

“Why would Essential Energy plan to do this at this time of the year?

“Essential Energy is wholly owned by NSW Government. Why have we not heard from our elected state representative whose job it is to advocate for her constituents?”

A spokesperson for State Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said she had not received any contact on the issue other than Region Media’s inquiry. Ms Tuckerman subsequently raised the issue with Essential Energy.

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Essential Energy south eastern operations manager Darren Basterfield said in a statement that the outage was scheduled maintenance between 9 am and 3 pm.

“Affecting 1187 customers including a large number of businesses and two schools, the works have been planned for Sunday to minimise impact to the local schools and impacted businesses,” he said.

The work would allow crews to install a new power pole, replace a number of cross arms and install a new gas switch on the high voltage network.

The planned power outage would enable crews to safely undertake maintenance work, which would minimise the risk of equipment failure and subsequent unplanned power outages for customers, Mr Basterfield said.

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To minimise future planned outages, technicians would also be completing maintenance on re-closers, which act as large safety switches that keep customers safe by turning off power when they detect a fault on the network.

“Essential Energy understands power interruptions can be inconvenient and unpleasant particularly during cooler temperatures; however maintenance work is necessary throughout the whole year to ensure public safety and power reliability,” Mr Basterfield said.

The planned outage was dependent on suitable weather conditions and could be postponed if conditions were unfavourable or unforeseen circumstances arose.

Unrelated to the work next month, hundreds of Goulburn residents were without power for a couple of days in April after a fierce wind storm brought down large trees and power lines. The damage took several days to clear.

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We have just had this outage occur and what is more we never received the text message notification that it would be happening (is this because we are a rental), so we are unprepared with children in covid isolation who I am trying to keep seperate from others on the house so we all don’t end up sick with covid in the middle of winter with everyone at home on a Sunday.

It’s long overdue that Essential Energy’s planned outages are investigated. We constantly have them in Bermagui. Fortunately it doesn’t get as cold as Goulburn, but they are inconvenient, and constant. We recently had one on a Sunday that affected the whole town. I miss the good old days when this “essential” work was done at night time.

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