Hills residents ‘without power for days’

Hills residents ‘without power for days’

HUNDREDS of Gidgegannup residents are set to swelter and are being warned they could be without power for days due to extreme weather conditions and fire risk making it too dangerous for crews to fix a fault on the power grid.

With the forecast tipped to hit 40 plus degrees over the next three days, Swan Hills MLA Jess Shaw said it could be days before the outage is resolved.

“Western Power have a helicopter up patrolling hundreds of kilometres of lines to attempt to locate the fault, but due to the catastrophic fire conditions and vehicle movement ban, it is not currently safe to send line crews out into hazardous farm and bushland areas, to search for the fault on the ground,” she said.

“The power cannot be re-routed until the fault has been found – any spark could ignite a fire, so they must find the cause of the outage.”

Ms Shaw said it was not possible for a fire truck to accompany line crews.

“Whilst this might sound like an easy solution, vehicle movement bans are imposed for good reasons and are not taken lightly,” she said.

“The crew and fire vehicles themselves could cause a fire.

“Even if a volunteer bush fire brigade truck accompanied a crew, there remains a very real risk, in these weather conditions, that any fire could get away.

“This would risk the lives of the line crews and our fireys, in addition to local residents and homes.”

Ms Shaw added many crews were already responding to fires in Yanchep and Bullsbrook.

“Western Power and the Bureau of Meteorology are constantly monitoring weather conditions to determine when it is safer to dispatch ground crews,” she said.

“Western Power have advised me that the outage may be lengthy – it could be days, given the prevailing weather conditions over the weekend.

“Western Power fully understand what a significant impact this has on our homes and businesses, and are doing all they can and looking at all options to restore power.

“I know this can be very frustrating, but if you live on a country property or in a semi-rural area (and as part of normal your fire planning) you need to prepare for power outages – particularly in fire and extreme weather conditions.”