Whitton calls for power guarantee

A POWER outage that left 1000 customers with no electricity for at least an hour does not bode well for summer, says Orange councillor Jeff Whitton.

At around 3.30pm on Wednesday, businesses in Sale, Summer, Anson, Hill, Peisley  and Dalton streets, and the surrounding area, were left without power until 4.30pm, with some forced to wait until 5.15pm before power was restored.

Cr Whitton said it was concerning that the outage occurred just as Orange was moving into one of the year’s peak usage times.

“The electrical network will be hard hit as we move into the warmer weeks, particularly when everyone starts using air conditioning,” he said.

“Also, as a business person it’s concerning that it has affected businesses in the central business district at this time of year.”

Cr Whitton said he knew Essential Energy was upgrading its equipment, however, having a reliable supply of energy was vital.

“I’d like a guarantee that we won’t see the outages in summer that we saw in winter,” he said.

Essential Energy south eastern regional general manager Phillip Green said it did not take long for crews to pinpoint the location of the fault, enabling power to be restored as soon as possible.

“Once Essential Energy crews identified that the problem was located on an underground cable on McNamara Lane, they were able to isolate the affected area and commence supply restoration,” he said.

“By using back-up and alternate supply options, electricity was quickly restored to more than 900 customers by 4.30pm.”

Mr Green apologised to customers for the power interruption and said Essential Energy was committed to improving the reliability of the power supply in Orange.

“We have a major maintenance program underway on all of the underground switching equipment throughout the Orange CBD, which includes using specialised thermo-vision techniques to identify fault areas,” he said.

Essential Energy is installing a new underground cable between the Orange North zone substation and the Civic Centre to boost supply and improve network flexibility while an upgrade of the substation in Convent Lane has recently been completed.

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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