Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Extreme January heat impacts accom providers

Outages effected approximately 95,000 customers throughout Victoria during extreme heat conditions on Sunday January 28 and Monday January 29, including accommodation providers.

Customers serviced by electricity distributors United Energy, Powercor and CitiPower were the worst affected. 
 
Mr Brendan Pendergast, class action principal, said that there was no guarantee that the widespread faults that occurred last weekend would not happen again.
“Customers are vindicated in their concerns about the reliability of the electrical network,” he said.
CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy have attributed the blackouts to a number of fuse faults across their networks. CitiPower and Powercor have also advised that an outage in the Bellarine Peninsula area, which impacted approximately 17,500 customers, was the result of an incident with two cables at a zone substation.
 
Mr Pendergast said that the widespread outages adversely impacted thousands of business. A number of businesses were forced to close their doors and send staff home and guests elsewhere. They have also incurred expenses in replacing refrigerated stock and produce which had to be thrown out during the outage.
“Customers reasonably expected their electricity distributor to operate and maintain a network which is capable of providing them with a reliable supply of energy, particularly during challenging weather conditions. Initial reports indicate that minimum service levels and standards were not met over the weekend,” Mr Pendergast said.
“Energy bills have been increasing at a rapid rate and ‘network costs’ are the largest component of those bills. Collectively, consumers are paying millions of dollars each year to ensure that the network serving their area is, safe, reliable and able to withstand an Australian summer’s day. The performance of the electricity network on January 28 and 29 fell short customer’s expectations,” Mr Pendergast said.
 
Many businesses are now seeking compensation from the energy companies for lost business and inconvenience to customers.

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