Backlash over city blackout: business owners consider compensation claims

BUSINESS AS USUAL AGAIN: Eight staff members from the Byng Street Cafe and Local Store, including Rick Armstrong, were sent home on Saturday and customers were turned away due to the blackout. Photo: STEVE GOSCH                                                0728sgpower1

BUSINESS AS USUAL AGAIN: Eight staff members from the Byng Street Cafe and Local Store, including Rick Armstrong, were sent home on Saturday and customers were turned away due to the blackout. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0728sgpower1

A RARE flashover event at the Orange TransGrid substation has been pinpointed as the cause of a two-hour-and-20-minute blackout on Saturday that has left some business owners considering pursuing compensation for loss of business.

A TransGrid spokesperson said in a written statement the failure of the protection relay system, combined with the flashover, delivered a greater impact on the supply system at 1.48pm on Saturday.

More than 9600 customers lost power, which  was not restored until 4.10pm.

TransGrid is the NSW electricity transmission authority, which transmits power from generators to electricity distributors such as Essential Energy.

Byng Street Cafe and Local Store owner Jeremy Norris said eight staff members had to be  sent home and customers turned away from his business.

“I think putting everything together for a compensation claim is just a headache so I will have to just wear it,” he said.

“Our customers were very understanding.”

Pete’s Car Wash owner Peter Mueller said he was considering lodging a claim for compensation.

“The problem is, when you run a car wash business like mine, supply of electricity is absolutely critical to my business and we just had to shut down,” he said.

STORY: SPITTING CHIPS OVER SATURDAY'S POWER FAILURE

The TransGrid spokesperson said the company would not deal directly with any compensation claims.

“TransGrid has an arrangement in place with Essential Energy who has a direct relationship with customers connected to its network.

“Customers should contact Essential Energy regarding any claims,” the TransGrid spokesperson said.

On Saturday night and Sunday night following the major outage several areas of the central business district were without street lighting.

An Essential Energy spokesperson said crews identified a number of lights yesterday morning  that were not operating.

“They investigated and determined that a circuit breaker had been tripped and there was no immediate apparent cause, ” the spokesperson said.

“But it may have occurred as power was restored to the CBD following the unplanned interruption.”

Cr Ron Gander, who worked for an electricity provider for almost 40 years,  said he was disappointed regular patrols were not carried out at night to check street lights were working.

“There used to be a patrol vehicle on duty checking the lights but now it seems it is the public who has to report lights out,” he said.

Essential Energy said any customers with queries should call 13 23 91 or 13 20 80 for supply interruptions.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop