Spitting chips over power failure: backlash over Saturday's blackout

BAD FOR BUSINESS: Perry Oval Takeaway owner Craig Gill said he lost hundreds of dollars in trade shutting the doors on his busiest trading day during the power failure. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0726sgpower2

BAD FOR BUSINESS: Perry Oval Takeaway owner Craig Gill said he lost hundreds of dollars in trade shutting the doors on his busiest trading day during the power failure. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0726sgpower2

SATURDAY’S power failure of over two hours affected 9600 customers in Orange and district and left business owners counting the cost after they had to shut their doors and turn customers away on the busiest trading day of the week.

Mayor John Davis says he will be speaking with Essential Energy management today to seek answers to the reasons behind the outage which caused a massive loss of power across large sections of Orange and surrounding districts.

“I can’t ever remember a blackout like this in living memory,” Cr Davis said.

“Just imagine if this had come last week during the snow and freezing conditions - I hate to think how people with babies and small children and the elderly would have coped with no power,” he said.

Cr Davis said he was surprised when he realised the extent of the power failure and how it affected so many areas.

“When I went on to the CWD Facebook page and saw it was out to Lucknow, Forest Reefs, Borenore and even Bowen Park Road I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Cr Davis said he is keen to seek assurances for the people of Orange as the city continues to grow and will require more demands be placed on the electricity network which includes 260 new housing approved last year.

Orange small business owner Craig Gill who owns the Perry Oval Takeaway says he had to turn away customers on Saturday, losing hundreds of dollars.

“This is my busiest day.

“It was a close call because it was almost time to make the call to throw out my stock as the temperature in the cool room was rising,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s going on but there just seems to be more and more of these blackouts,” he said.

OUR SAY: POWER DOWN, BUT NOT PRICES - ANSWERS ON ELECTRICITY NEEDED

At a local car wash staff had to retrieve vehicles in the bays and finish off the washing manually while patrons were guided out of the five cinemas at the Odeon 5 Cinemas before it closed its doors.

A spokesperson for Essential Energy has apologised to customers saying it despatched crews to fix the problem immediately the outage occurred.

The energy provider’s spokesperson said the outage was caused by an equipment fault in the high voltage meters in the William Street sub station. 

Councillor Ron Gander who worked for an electricity provider in Orange for almost 40 years said he heard the sound. “I was at the Alpine Stores - it was a huge bang.

“18 months ago council met with Essential Energy and they recognised there was some work to be done on the ageing infrastructure in Orange and they have already carried out some excellent upgrades in the Summer Centre area,” he said.

The major outage in Orange which had a dramatic effect on businesses and homes comes just weeks after the NSW Government announced a privatisation of the ‘poles and wires’ sector of the electricity network.

Central West Community Union Alliance representative Joe Maric who has opposed the NSW government’s decision to sell off the poles and wires network says electricity customers deserve answers about the number of blackouts which are occurring in the city.

“People are experiencing significant increases in their power bills and we are being told by the energy provider investment is being made into the network.

“But is that really happening and I think we deserve answers,” he said.

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