MORE than two months after the Telstra exchange fire that crippled telecommunications in the south-west, the cause of the disaster is still a mystery.
A preliminary Country Fire Authority report into the devastating blaze in November failed to find the exact cause.
More than 1000 compensation claims for under $1000 had been processed and a smaller number of claims for more than $1000 were also under way.
Telstra Country Wide area manager Bill Mundy yesterday told The Standard the CFA had asked to conduct further investigations and analysis in a bid for answers.
“We have supported them in that. There is no indication when their report will be finished,” Mr Mundy said.
He said an internal Telstra report was due back later this month and would be combined with the CFA report.
“Once the internal report is back, we will make those findings available, and certainly act on the recommendations.
“We are also working closely with the federal government and supporting their inquiry as well, and look at their findings and take them on board.”
Submissions to the federal government inquiry into the fire closed last week and a spokesperson said 21 submissions had been received.
Mr Mundy said work crews had begun returning to the exchange to restore it to a fully functional site.
“We took the crews out just prior to Christmas,” he said. “They will return in the coming weeks to convert all the temporary infrastructure back into permanent fixtures and fittings.
“We don’t expect there to be any service interruptions during that time, but if interruptions are required, the work will be done late into the evening and customers will be made well aware of when it’s happening.”
He said the cost of returning the exchange to an operational site would be in excess of $10 million.
Mr Mundy said the claims process for compensation would be open for three years, so businesses didn’t need to feel pressure to rush.
“We are expecting a lot more claims to come through this month, once businesses have had a chance to look at the Business Activity Statements and assess their situation,” he said.
“We also want to make people who are with other providers aware that the claim process is available to them through their provider, for both consumers and small business.
“All they need to do is make contact with their provider to ensure they are getting the appropriate compensation.”