The nightmare of the St Patrick’s Day fires came back to haunt victims on Wednesday when a power line came down on a property at The Sisters.
Jill and Brad Porter discovered a fallen line across their gate at The Sisters about 7.30am, a stone’s throw from where a rotten power pole snapped on neighbour Jack Kenna’s farm in high winds on March 17.
That fallen line then sparked a devastating blaze which destroyed the Porter family’s stock and property and hurtled southward scorching animals, houses and paddocks.
On Wednesday, Powercor blamed an ibis for sparking the latest issue, saying it had brought down the power line that initially knocked out electricity supplies to more than 340 customers.
Powercor said that by mid afternoon all customers had been reconnected.
Powercor had originally reported “a bird or bat” was responsible for bringing down the wire.
The incident hit the Porters hard, still struggling to get back on their feet, almost eight months after the devastating fire.
On top of the line coming down on Wednesday, one of Brad's favourite Jersey cows had to go to market after not recovering from the bushfires.
Jill is worried about the impacts on her family, their financial and mental health.
"Today was shocking to find the power line across the road," she said.
"I rang the electricity company who told me it was my responsibility to ring emergency services.
"It's not my infrastructure but I was the one standing on the road like a lollipop lady."
And then there's the legal compensation system which she says is ignoring victims of bushfires.
Mrs Porter said Victoria was one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world and yet the compensation system was long, drawn-out, difficult to negotiate and not geared towards good outcomes for victims.
She has taken days off to go to Melbourne to seek independent legal advice and is regarded by her neighbours and other fire victims as highly astute about compensation matters.
Mrs Porter still doesn't know which legal option will provide her family with the best possible compensation outcome.
She has called on the state government to provide certainty for fire victims.
"I never want anyone else to go through what we are going through, it's disgraceful how all fire victims are being treated," she said.
"The state government sold off the infrastructure and guaranteed investors a return on their money. But, we, as fire victims, have no guarantee.
"We are being forced to make decisions which could affect the rest of our lives. It's a legal minefield and the victims are the people who should be protected but are not protected."
Mrs Porter said it was completely unknown what percentage of compensation victims would receive but it would be a fraction of their overall losses.
"The state government, whoever that is after the election on November 24, have a chance to fix this ineffective system. It's time something was done because the last thing that anyone in our position needs is to go through this life-changing trauma," she said.
"Powercor is allowed to hide behind the legal system. The Garvoc fire was caused by a rotten pole, it fell over.
“Powercor own the pole, it's their responsibility and they have a duty to provide fair compensation, but that's unlikely to happen because of this shambolic system."
Comment is being sought from Powercor.