It has been another long night for SA Power Networks crews working to restore power to about 10,000 properties still cut off from South Australia’s electricity network following fierce storms this week.
Most of the repair jobs still underway are in the state’s mid-north and the Adelaide Hills.
The wild weather brought down 350 power lines.
About 155,000 properties were blacked out at the peak of the storm and phones, internet services and traffic lights were also affected.
Many hotels and businesses across South Australia were forced to close as a result of the power outages.
Tens of thousands of South Australian properties remain without power after a day of wild storms, as businesses count the costs of blackouts and lost trade.
Crews were continuing to repair widespread damage to the electricity distribution network caused by the torrential storm that hit South Australia late on Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning.
Widespread outages affecting 100,000 due to #SAstorm. Restoration delays likely due to extent of damage, safety, and flooding issues.
— SA Power Networks (@SAPowerNetworks) December 27, 2016
District Council of Ceduna Mayor Allan Suter said ongoing blackouts in SA could result in the loss of life.
He said there had been eight blackouts, including three extended outages, in recent months.
One of those was just before Christmas.
“We’re having elderly people sweltering in heat without any means of keeping cool,” he said.
“We lose our communications. Someone could be the victim of a heart attack and there’s no means of summonsing urgent medical help.
“It is far past a joke and something needs to happen as a matter of urgency.”
— Nine News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) December 28, 2016
Businesses losing money during blackouts
A statewide blackout that followed severe storms in September costs businesses $367 million, according to the peak business lobby group, Business SA, which called on the state government at the time to secure electricity supplies.
This blackout, however, is being attributed to trees falling on powerlines.
“No power system in the world will withstand a gumtree hitting a powerline and dragging it to the ground,” Premier Jay Weatherill said after the storm.
Posted by Angela Corbett on 2016年12月28日
SA Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas said the question of power reliability is one “I think is on the minds of many South Australians”.
“It’s important to understand, that the weather event that happened during the course of the last 48 hours delivered a pretty predicable outcome,” he said.
“The Bureau of Meteorology was telling us early in the piece when this event started to form that there would be high winds, in fact destructive winds, and the consequence of that is a lot of trees down, particularly when the soil is damp.
“Unfortunately a lot of them landed on power lines and that has a consequence.”
Crystal Brook hotel publican Phil McSkimming in SA’s north said generators helped keep him serving drinks but not meals.
He said the only other local business open on Wednesday was a supermarket and the blackout had caused serious losses to the region’s economy.
“I was taking to the bloke that owns service stations around here and he’s pretty well frustrated,” Mr McSkimming said.
“They probably own around 36 service stations and only one of them has got a generator.”
Collinswood chicken shop owner Nasta Moukachar lost a large amount of stock at her chicken shop in Adelaide’s inner-north.
She said the power only just came back on this morning.
“We start all over again, waiting for new stock,” she said.
“It just feels like a mess and it’s an inconvenience. It’s very hard.”
Another storm front moved through the state’s north on Wednesday night, with Port Augusta recording a wind gust of 126 kilometres per hour at 6:18pm and 25 millimetres of rainfall in less than 30 minutes.
The town’s CBD was flooded with water.
The front had a potential to bring severe thunderstorms to Adelaide but the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its only remaining severe thunderstorm warning early on Thursday morning.
Crews working to restore power
SA Power Networks said restoring power was a major operation, with more than 1200 separate repair jobs springing up as a result of more than 350 powerlines coming down.
It said it had all available crews working, particularly in the Mid North, Adelaide metropolitan area and Adelaide Hills.
Most of the damage was caused in the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Mid North where some properties might not be reconnected until Friday.
“We have crews back on the job at first light taking over from the crews that have been working throughout the night,” SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts said.
“We’ve sought help from our interstate colleagues, as well. We’re waiting for some final advice on the numbers we’ll receive.”
Farmers have also assessed their losses, with Grain Producers SA tipping $100-200 million dollars to be wiped off the value of the state’s harvest.
There has also been damage to cherry trees and orchards in the Adelaide Hills.
The Insurance Council of Australia said there had been relatively few claims so far and damage to houses had generally been minor.