Lights out in the Dou­glas re­gion

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

THE par­lous state of eelec­tric­ity sup­ply­sup re­li­a­bil­ity in thet Dou­glas re­gion - specif­i­cally Moss­man, south to Oak Beach and north to Dain­tree Vil­lage but ex­clud­ing Port Dou­glas - is lit­tle bet­ter than a third-world ser­vice in this day and age.

We have suf­fered seven sig­nif­i­cant power fail­ures in the past 11 weeks, with an av­er­age du­ra­tion of two hours and nine min­utes.

Dur­ing this same pe­riod there have been at least 12 fur­ther fail­ures rang­ing from one or two sec­onds to a minute which nonethe­less have the abil­ity to do enor­mous dam­age to home and busi­ness elec­tronic equip­ment, not to men­tion peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in post­ing ac­counts or putting a cake in the oven.

These fail­ures have not oc­curred dur­ing cy­clonic con­di­tions, dur­ing which times we might ex­pect fail­ures, and are, un­for­tu­nately, far from un­usual in this area.

Our day-to-day power fail­ures de­rive from two sources.

Typ­i­cally the longer ones are caused by storm ac­tiv­ity or other fail­ures on the Table­lands that bring down the old and bedrag­gled 66kv line that wan­ders from Ma­reeba all over Mt Molloy and Ju­lat­ten and ul­ti­mately ar­rives at the Cas­sowary sub­sta­tion at the foot of the Rex Range near South Moss­man, and which “serves” all of the “Greater Moss­man” area ex­cept Port Dou­glas.

The rea­son Port Dou­glas is ex­cluded is that in the mid-1990s Er­gon (then the FNQEB) ran a new 132kv line from Ma­reeba to Port Dou­glas, par­al­lel­ing the main thrust of the old 66kv line all the way to the Cas­sowary sub­sta­tion, be­fore con­tin­u­ing on to Port Dou­glas.

I am not aware of any non­cy­clonic in­stance where Port Dou­glas has been im­pacted by these Table­lands-in­duced power fail­ures that so of­ten com­pro­mise the 66kv sup­ply, which was in­deed the pur­pose of the 132kv line, and it was the stated in­ten­tion of the FNQEB at the time to re­move the 66kv line and to move all con­sumers onto that more re­li­able 132kv ser­vice “within a few years”.

Typ­i­cally the shorter ones are lo­cally in­duced, through ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents, by trees or branches fall­ing on lines, and/ or by lo­calised equip­ment fail­ure.

Be­ing lo­cal, these are usu­ally rec­ti­fied quicker, how­ever, the veg­e­ta­tion-clear­ing regime im­ple­mented some years ago seems un­for­tu­nately to have di­min­ished in re­cent years, to the detri­ment of sup­ply re­li­a­bil­ity lo­cally.

My point is to ask, once again: “When is Er­gon go­ing to hon­our its prom­ise to dis­con­nect the 66kv sup­ply at the Cas­sowary sub­sta­tion and to con­vert the ap­prox­i­mately 6000 non-port Dou­glas res­i­dents of the ’Greater Moss­man’ area still on that line on to the highly re­li­able 132kv sup­ply, and to bring them into the 21st cen­tury as far as electricity sup­ply re­li­a­bil­ity is con­cerned?”

I have been chas­ing a res­o­lu­tion of this prob­lem for 14 years, un­for­tu­nately with­out much suc­cess.

I can as­sure you that I am not go­ing to let this lie, un­til it is suc­cess­fully re­solved.

Any pres­sure that you can bring to bear to help re­solve this is­sue once and for all would be much ap­pre­ci­ated by

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