Page 4377 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005

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ACTEW—power cuts
(Question No 718)

Mr Pratt asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice, on 20 October 2005:

(1) Further to a letter to the editor “Left like mushrooms” in The Canberra Times on 5 October 2005, why was electricity cut-off in parts of Lyneham for more than 20 hours in the week of 26 September to 2 October;

(2) What repairs and/or upgrades were completed within this period;

(3) Why were households affected unaware of the operations undertaken by ACTEW in this week;

(4) What requirements exist regarding the disclosure of information to households affected by operations that result in cuts to their electricity supply and are these requirements met at all times; if not, why not;

(5) What has been done to ensure that this lack of information to households regarding electricity supply cuts will not occur again.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) On Friday 30 September ActewAGL had a fault on an underground cable in the low voltage distribution network, which affected the electricity supply to a part of Lyneham in the area of Owen Crescent and De Burgh Street. Residences affected included all of Sections 49 and 55 (including Owen Flats) and approximately half of Section 48 Lyneham. The first calls of loss of electricity supply were received at ActewAGL’s Emergencies and Faults Call Centre at 1552 hours. Work undertaken included the response to the calls, identification of the problem, location of the fault, repairs and finally restoration of electricity supply at 1300 hours on Saturday 1 October. For this particular section of the low voltage distribution network ActewAGL was unable to provide an alternative electricity supply to the customers whilst the faulted section was repaired.

(2) The fault was a cable joint in a section of low voltage underground cable that runs from a padmount substation, adjacent the HIA Building near Northbourne Avenue, to a pole near Owen Flats. The faulty section of the low voltage cable was cut out and a new section of low voltage cable was required to run to the pole. This required excavation at the location of the fault and then to the pole. This new cable was jointed to the section of old cable that runs to the substation.

(3) The work carried out was emergency repairs, not planned work.

(4) The summary of the Consumer Protection Code provisions relating to unplanned outages: In the case of unplanned interruption ActewAGL must:

• establish a telephone service (as far as possible with the option to talk to the operator) for the purpose of providing information to customers

• provide information on the nature of the interruption

• provide an estimate of the duration of interruption (or an estimate when reliable information on the restoration time will be available)

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