POWER has been fully restored to 65,000 customers blacked out by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in far north Qld.
Close to 1000 Ergon Energy, Energex, Essential Energy crews, and contractors worked tirelessly for almost two weeks to reconnect the electricity to the cyclone-ravaged region.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the achievement was “remarkable”. “This is a remarkable achievement given the damage caused to Ergon’s network in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
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“Community support for Ergon’s restoration crews has been significant and I can’t thank North Queenslanders enough.”
Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said Ergon’s outstanding response has also been one of the most hi-tech responses to a disaster event in Australia’s history.
“Ergon has built on learnings from previous disaster events and used technology to gather an unprecedented level of data, geospatial visualisation and aerial surveillance mapping for damage assessment to improve its response,” he said.
“Ground-based damage assessment crews have been backed up by an army of technical support staff sitting at computers assisting with the entire end-to-end response from potential impacts, flood modelling, real-time damage assessments, restorations, data analytics and providing expert advice.”
“Real-time data and pictures of the network damage area have enabled Ergon’s crews to respond and restore power to communities faster.”
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie was severe.
“The cyclone damaged 650 power poles and brought down 800 power lines,” she said.
“:It also caused extensive damage to the network from the Burdekin south to Sarina and west to Collinsville and Moranbah cutting power to 65,000 customers mostly in the Mackay and The Whitsundays areas which bore the brunt of Debbie’s damaging winds.
“I congratulate everyone involved in the restoration effort, it’s been an impressive feat.”
Ergon will undertake an extensive safety inspection of its network to check for residual damage to ensure public safety.