In the dark: Barellan blackouts ‘ridiculous’

BARELLAN residents have sent a clear message to their electricity provider enough is enough.

Locals of the tiny town have banded together in a bid to stop the repeated blackouts that leave hundreds without power and some without water.

After experiencing three power outages this year alone, mother of two Alicia Hornbuckle said the situation was getting "ridiculous".

"I am appalled with the amount of blackouts we seem to be having," Mrs Hornbuckle said.

"It may not seem like much, but I've got small children and it is still quite warm of an evening when these are occurring. Many elderly residents are suffering without the use of air conditioning too.

"If this is not bad enough, when we experience a power outage we also experience the local Telstra mobile network go down.

"As I have a cordless home phone powered by electricity and a Telstra mobile this leaves me and most of the community without communication.

"As a mother of two small children, I worry what would happen in an emergency if I had to contact someone."

Mrs Hornbuckle said despite frequent calls to Essential Energy, her concerns had fallen on deaf ears.

"We had five blackouts last year. I ring up and let them know and they say they don't know where the fault is," she said.

"I honestly think they need to update the equipment, it's getting ridiculous.

"There are some residents I have been told some lose their water connection. In this heat it is unacceptable as these blackouts can last for four to five hours at a time, leaving them without phone, electricity and water.”

Mrs Hornbuckle said she felt Barellan residents were being treated like second-rate citizens.

“Just because we are a small community we should not have to

put up with this lack in services,” she said.

“We pay to have electricity serviceability to our property like everybody else, but the service standard seems to not be up to scratch in the Barellan district.

“This has been going on too long, something needs to be done.” 

Beth Preston, who runs the Golden Grain Cafe at Barellan, echoed these sentiments and said action was needed.

“I’m trying to run a business and whenever there is a blackout I’m losing money,” she said.

“My beef with them is I pay enough for my electricity, so I don’t feel that I should have to buy a generator.

“To get three blackouts in a fortnight is beyond a joke especially in the heatwave conditions we’ve been experiencing.

“This has been an ongoing problem and it needs to be sorted now.”

Essential Energy acknowledged 400 customers in Barellan, Kamarah, Binya and surrounding rural areas were affected by an emergency power supply interruption last Wednesday.

Regional manager southern, Steven Ilitch, said the interruption

was required to carry out urgent repairs to the local electricity network and crews restored supply by 9pm.

“A power pole fault had been detected in the Moombooldool area requiring immediate attention to ensure the security of the local electricity network and the safety of our customers,” Mr Illitch said.

“Essential Energy recognises supply reliability is of the upmost importance to our customers, but unfortunately no electricity network is 100 per cent guaranteed due to environmental factors such as wind, lightning, vegetation and wildlife.

“We’re working hard to minimise the impact of these influences.”

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