Mar 31, 2017

Risk of fallen powerlines hidden in storm debris

Risk of fallen powerlines hidden in storm debris

A blunt message has been issued in cyclone and rain affected areas to beware of fallen power lines.

Powerlines ripped down by Cyclone Debbie and her aftermath in the South East, may be hidden killers under storm debris, said Energy Minister Mark Bailey.

He said anyone cleaning up around the yard or moving a fallen tree should be aware that powerlines could easily be tangled within or under the debris.

“More than 47,000 people are still without power in North Queensland and our crews are working as quickly as possible to restore supply,” Mr Bailey said.

“But access still remains an issue and it could be weeks in some areas before power is completely restored.

“Last night, the ferocious weather front tore down more than 700 powerlines in South East Queensland along with thousands of trees,” Mr Bailey said.

“Energex has restored power to 10,000 homes since this morning but we still have 80,000 out in South East Queensland.”

“Some parts of the northern Gold Coast are being evacuated and we have to abide by these danger warnings and turn our attention to areas we can get in and make a difference.

“Power in the worst affected areas such as hinterlands, flooded in and isolated locations may be without power for a number of days and we thank the community for their patience.

“The major problem here in many cases both could be twisted together and just because a powerline is down it doesn’t mean it can’t still be live.

“So we are urging people cleaning up their yard to take a good look for powerlines within the debris before touching it because coming into contact with high voltage can kill instantly.

“And if people do see a powerline, or anything that looks like one, tangled within in it to keep themselves and others away and call Ergon’s emergency number on 13 16 70 or Energex’s emergency number on 13 19 62.”

Mr Bailey added that Ergon and Energex and other emergency services are continuing to work hard in difficult conditions to help the community get back on track.

“Cyclone Debbie has caused significant damage and disruptions to lives throughout Queensland and recovery from such large events can take some time,” he said.

“Ergon and Energex crews and other first responders will continue working day and night alongside members of the community and we sincerely appreciate their patience and amazing Queenslander resilience.”

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