Power to the people


DOREENA Weller was able to bath her baby without boiling the kettle last night.

The mother of eight from Tallawudjah Creek, south-west of Glenreagh, was also preparing dinner for her large family using the contents of her defrosted freezer, after the family had been without power for two days.

But last night Mrs Weller was upbeat. Her husband had just brought home a new $850 generator from Grafton so the family would be well-prepared for the next blackout and able to run their fridges, freezers and the pumps that keep their tank water flowing to the toilet and bathroom.

She said this week's 48-hour blackout was the longest the Weller family had experienced in 14 years of living 10 km away from the nearest village.

Country Energy crews have now restored power to the majority of customers in the Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga areas.

Helicopter patrols and heavy machinery were yesterday lending extra muscle to the crews working furiously to restore power to the Coffs Coast.

At 5pm yesterday Country Energy was preparing to send out helicopter and foot patrols to identify a stubborn problem affecting the main Nana Glen supply line which was still causing problems in the Bucca, Central Bucca, Lower Bucca and Bruxner Park areas.

A helicopter patrol was also used yesterday to find trees which had fallen on powerlines in the Raleigh and Kalang areas, while at Glenreagh an excavator was used to remove a massive tree which had fallen across the lines affecting the Orara Way and blocking access for field staff.

The tree, so massive it had defeated all efforts to attack it with chainsaws, was removed yesterday afternoon and repairs were completed on the downed lines.

Country Energy regional general manager Peter Bereicua said staff were aiming to complete repairs on the main supply lines by around 8pm yesterday.

"Power has now been restored on the main supply lines in Glenreagh, Raleigh, Kalang, Double Crossing and Karangi Dam, he said.

"In the West Woolgoolga area, nearly all customers in Newmans Road and St Andrews Drive have power."

Reports yesterday said Coles Toormina was forced to throw out more than $70,000 of food following Tuesday night's storm and associated power failures.

Country Energy Community relations manager Fiona Carrick said the problems affecting the giant Coles Toormina supermarket were probably due to health concerns.

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