Power, communications could be out for days along fire-damaged coast

Genevieve Jacobs1 January 2020
George Bass Drive

George Bass Drive, Batemans Bay, 11:00 am, 31 December. Photo: Josh Burkinshaw Images

Following a day described by some as “like looking into the gates of hell”, residents from South Nowra through to Moruya and possibly further are likely to be without power and communications for days.

Late yesterday, police confirmed that at least 46,000 people or more were affected by the outage, which stretches almost 200 kilometres. The power outage also affects communications infrastructure including telephone landlines and internet access.

A number of mobile towers have also been hit by the fire and there were reports yesterday of damaged power lines arcing in already extremely dangerous conditions.

Endeavour Energy says that 17,000 of their South Coast customers will be without power for up to 48 hours after bushfires damaged major 132 kV transmission lines.

The Endeavour Energy site is currently showing an estimated restoration time of 6:00 pm, 2 January for many areas, but this appears to be indicative, and heavily damaged areas don’t have listings for unplanned interruptions.

Police said that energy companies were working with the RFS to gain access to damaged infrastructure in order to restores services. However, it’s not currently safe to do so in all areas and Endeavour Energy says crews cannot patrol feeder lines because conditions are so dangerous.

These lines also supply Essential Energy customers in the area between Batemans Bay and the NSW/Victorian border, potentially closing down supplies for a further 29,000 people.

Essential Energy says customers should be prepared for potentially extended power outages. With extreme conditions expected over the coming days, the company is warning that more customers could be affected in areas where blazes continue to threaten power supplies.

“As of 3:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, more than 31,280 customers are without power in the Batemans Bay area. Those customers will, unfortunately, be without power until the area is deemed safe to access by our crews and we can carry out repairs,” the company said in a statement.

In a separate fire-related outage, around 1,920 customers are also without power in the Tumbarumba/Tumut area. Essential Energy says it’s also working closely with the RFS to ascertain when it can safely gain access to review the situation and have senior personnel in the Emergency Operations Centres.

“Members of the public are urged to stay at least eight metres away from any fallen powerlines and report them on 13 20 80,” the company said.

“The Essential Energy website will have information about outages, however, due to the uncertainty as to when we can safely access the sites, in many cases estimated times to restore will not be available”.

What's Your Opinion?

9 Responses to Power, communications could be out for days along fire-damaged coast

Jennifer Buckett Jennifer Buckett 5:53 am 02 Jan 20

What more do these people have to go through. Stay safe all thank you to everyone who helped.

Markus Douglas Markus Douglas 7:09 pm 01 Jan 20

Trying to get hold of family near the Bay, ,

    Penny Flaherty Penny Flaherty 8:28 pm 01 Jan 20

    Markus Douglas Register.Find.Reunite.

Indi Fiji Indi Fiji 5:12 pm 01 Jan 20

Reports of power out as far south as Bermi. Definitely no power in Narooma

Marguerite Montes Marguerite Montes 5:12 pm 01 Jan 20

Trying to find out about the Korten family who live in South Nowra? Can't get them on the phone. Really worried...I hope they are safe.

Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 2:54 pm 01 Jan 20

Are you sure these population figures are right? They seem low. Perhaps Essential cite the number of customers, of people, with a customer being an account?

Kathy Easter Kathy Easter 1:06 pm 01 Jan 20

My family are down there. I pray they are safe.

Valerie Lorraine Gray Valerie Lorraine Gray 12:08 pm 01 Jan 20

Really hard when you want to make sure friends are okay. It will be a big job.

Joanne Campbell Joanne Campbell 12:06 pm 01 Jan 20

Glad Hurley Days yet