ORANGE deputy mayor Jeff Whitton has slammed Essential Energy’s explanation for the cause of a power outage on June 5 that left 3000 premises without electricity.
At an Orange City Council meeting on Thursday night Cr Whitton called on council staff to request a report from the power company into why the fault occurred.
Cr Whitton wanted to know what strategies were in place to ensure infrastructure is maintained and upgraded to meet future capacity.
“Getting information back [from Essential Energy] that says it was a piece of equipment that died is not telling the community what happened,” he said.
“Just saying some switch blew, up the road, isn’t good enough.”
Cr Neil Jones said Essential Energy regional general manager Phillip Green had provided a “very simple explanation”.
But Cr Whitton said the response from the energy provider was weak.
“I’m not interested in how nice a bloke he is,” he said.
“If it’s too hard for this person he’s in the wrong job.”
Cr Whitton said many residents and business owners were confused about changes to electricity providers and were concerned money to upgrade and maintain the city’s infrastructure was being spent elsewhere.
While Mr Green didn’t rule out providing an official report to council on the reasons behind Orange’s recent blackouts, he said Essential Energy had already provided a comprehensive briefing to council regarding the supply interruptions on May 31 and June 5.
Mr Green said Essential Energy prioritised keeping council and the community informed on any interruptions to electricity supplies.
“When unplanned power supply interruptions occur Essential Energy provides regular community updates through a number of channels, including local radio, social media and its 24-hour supply interruption hotline,” he said.
“Real-time supply interruption information is also available on our website essentialenergy.com.au.”
Mr Green said the two recent blackouts were unrelated. He said the May 31 blackout was due to an underground network fault and was unrelated to the supply interruption on June 5.
“Essential Energy is committed to a substantial capital and maintenance works program in Orange that will continue to improve the reliability of the electricity network,” he said.
“The upgrade works will not only deliver a stronger and more dependable electricity supply but also cater for the city’s future growth.”
He said in the last financial year Essential Energy delivered capital network projects worth more than $9 million in Orange, and $2.5 million was spent on maintenance projects.