Traders angry after blackout strikes

TRADERS in Port Fairy are furious over power outages that forced them to close  yesterday afternoon. 

The outage struck about 12.30pm, leaving packed cafes with little choice but to close their doors on the busy lunch crowd.

It’s the second minor outage in less than a week and comes a month after network operator Powercor met with businesses seeking assurances of supply over the peak summer season.

Powercor region manager Nick Rees told The Standard heavy electricity demand took out a fuse on Sackville Street. 

“A low voltage fuse blew affecting six to 10 customers in the town centre,” Mr Ress said. 

“It was only a few places — there’s a three phase running down the street and only one of the phases went.

“We’ve upgraded the fuse and we’ll be doing tests there today.”  Power was restored at about 3pm. 

But Rebecca’s Cafe owner Rebecca Nelson closed her doors at lunchtime, not wanting to subject staff or patrons to the heat. 

“It’s really frustrating. Just before Christmas we had the meeting (with Powercor),” she said. 

“They’ve got to take some accountability at some stage.” 

Ms Nelson said the loss cafe’s losses would run into the thousands. 

“I don’t even want to think about it … I’m not going to get any compensation. 

“It’s the same every year.” 

She said Powercor workers had resolved a similar problem with a fuse box last Friday. 

“We’ve thought about getting generators. Every time this happens we discuss it but we have too much equipment.” 

IGA supermarket owner Colin Cleary told The Standard he had to close off fridges to save stock, while a backlog of trucks was unable to deliver goods to the store. 

“It’s not good enough,” Mr Cleary said.

“It’s the second time it’s happened on a second hot day and from what I understand there are more hot days to come. 

“We’re very busy and it’s a bit of a pain. 

‘‘I don’t blame the (Powercor) workers, it’s the infrastructure.”

Traders say they haven’t been given any definitive answers on why Port Fairy’s power network continues to fall out. 

Meanwhile, Mr Rees said there had been no other incidents in the south-west.

“We’ve had no other incidents on the Powercor network. 

‘‘We’ll be monitoring during the week.”

Rebecca Nelson is angry with power failures that led to the closure of her cafe  on Monday.

Rebecca Nelson is angry with power failures that led to the closure of her cafe on Monday.


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