ERGON has warned there are more power outages to come, after all of Mackay and the Whitsundays were hit with a major blackout, on Friday, October 28, caused by severe storms.
“160,000 lightning strikes were recorded within a 200km radius of Mackay,” Ergon senior corporate communications advisor Emma Oliveri said.
“More than 14,000 customers across the regions lost power at the peak of the event.
“We were able to restore power quite quickly in some areas, like Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and Jubilee Pocket, once crews had confirmed it was safe to re-energise.
“They worked through the night to restore power to all but around 500 customers by early Saturday morning.”
Traffic jams at the Whitsunday Plaza Shopping Centre were almost 20 cars long, as customers raced to get home following the shopping precinct’s evacuation.
Police promptly responded to major traffic light intersections to keep traffic running smoothly with no operational traffic lights.
Ergon’s executive general manager operations Paul Jordon said recent severe weather events were a sharp reminder of what to expect from a third ‘La Nina’.
“We are again facing a higher risk of severe thunderstorms, flooding and cyclones, which can cause major damage to the electricity network, both overhead and underground,” he said.
“Please report fallen powerlines, sparking pillar boxes and any network damage you see to Ergon (13 16 70) or call emergency services (000).
“Although November 1 marks the official start of cyclone season, Ergon urges that now is the time to get your house in order if you haven’t already.
“Restock your storm kit, clean up your yard, and check the condition of your generator before you need to use it.”
Ergon has been completing network maintenance, including tree trimming near powerlines, and stocking up on essential network hardware at main warehouses.
“It’s also essential that all Queenslanders be prepared for the possibility of prolonged power outages because it takes time for weather conditions to ease, damage to be assessed across a wide area, and extensive network repairs to be completed,” Mr Jordon said.
“If wild weather plays havoc, we will safely restore your power, but it often can’t happen overnight. The best thing you can do is ensure your household or business is prepared for the worst-case scenario.”