Power outage outrage

Published on 12 February 2018

Council building

For the second time in four weeks, Nillumbik Council’s important community services will grind to a halt due to day-long power outages.

Nillumbik Council’s main office in Greensborough, along with the Diamond Valley Library and Diamond Valley Sport and Fitness Centre, will all be without power from 8.30am – 4.30pm on Thursday February 15, due to power outages by AusNet to do maintenance.

Nillumbik Mayor Peter Clarke has written to the Energy Minister Lily D’ Ambrosio seeking urgent government intervention to stop the massive public disruption.

Cr Clarke said with no power to run lights, computers and air conditioning, only very limited critical services would be available to the shire’s 62,000 residents.

He said council was implementing emergency arrangements to ensure as many critical services as possible would be available.

“On any given day our staff deals with hundreds of customer requests for essential services like home care, meals and support for people with disabilities, family and children’s services.” Cr Clarke said.

“Melbourne has repeatedly been voted the world’s most liveable city. To have the plug pulled on power supplies during our busiest time, is untenable.”

On January 12 the civic offices, library and sports centre were also without power for the day.

Cr Clarke said non-essential staff had been told to take leave – again, with the tab for lost productivity and services once again to be picked up by the ratepayers.  “I can only hope and pray that we don’t encounter an extreme fire risk day and that our community is not put in danger through our inability to respond to urgent requests,” he said.

Cr Clarke said Council had tried to contact AusNet for an urgent meeting but had not yet received a response from the power company.

“The fact that an essential service like power can be turned off during business hours with little warning and complete disdain for the community is disappointing. The fact that they have not bothered to get back to our requests for a meeting, is shocking.”

Cr Clarke queried why maintenance work could not be done on the weekend.

The Council also urgently contacted the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria), which said the complaint had been sent to a higher level representative at the power company to be investigated.

The Ombudsman suggested in written correspondence to Council, that AusNet phone the Council by February 12 to discuss concerns, write to Council by February 14 if it could not reach Council by phone, or work directly to resolve Council’s concerns by February 28.

The power outage is on February 15.

Cr Clarke said he hoped the State Government could urgently intervene to achieve a common sense outcome.