Marathon wait for power to come on

By UTE SCHULENBERG

SAPPHIRE resident Ben Hope is incensed.

What Country Energy advertised as a seven-hour power outage on Wednesday turned out to be closer to 12 hours, causing huge problems for him and his guests at the Santa Fe Guest House, not to mention other residents in the area.

"I don't mind a power outage for legitimate reasons but this was just so far-fectched," Mr Hope said.

"We had no power and no water to the self-contained cabins, people's freezers were starting to leak -- it's pretty poor service.

"Last night (Wednesday) the Country Energy guys were working up the huge new poles here, which don't even have power running to them.

"It looked like a case of really poor planning to me."

For Country Energy's area manager, Garry Morris, what had been a carefully planned day turned into a nightmare, which he will be thoroughly investigating.

"We were replacing parts of the old line and connecting them to the new line," Mr Morris said.

"We knew it was going to be a big job and brought in crews from Port Macquarie, Grafton, Dorrigo and Nambucca.

"It turned into a series of unfortunate events, starting with a hold-up early in the day with the switching operation, which put our clearance times out.

"Then through the day there were some other problems with maintenance, which required extra work and then the actual work took longer than expected."

Mr Morris said he really felt for people who were inconvenienced ... and he heard from a lot of them last night.

"There were some very irate customers, let me assure you," he said.

"Apologising does nothing for your power and water supply but unfortunately that's the way it rolled out.

"Country Energy places a lot of importance on this.

"I will be digging down to find out why this happened and explaining it to the regional manager."



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