No power surge for Mossman
ERGON Energy customers from Mossman to the Daintree have been told to put up with an “unreliable” energy source.
With eight blackouts from Mossman through to the Daintree officially recorded over summer, residents have called on Ergon to upgrade the substation at Cassowary which is on 66,000 volts (66KV) compared to Port Douglas and Craiglie which was switched over to 132KV more than 15 years ago.
Rocky Point resident Malcolm Mckellar is questioning why the northern Douglas region has not been switched over to the southern end’s reliable electricity supply.
Mr Mckellar said Ergon Energy (formerly FNQEB) gave a commitment to eventually switch over to the more reliable 132KV when negotiating with landowners to have powerlines cut through their land in Mt Molloy, Julatten, Cassowary and on to Craiglie for the new substation in 1995.
“I’ve had 20 individual outages from the beginning of December and seven significant ones, you blow up fridges, microwaves and computers, it’s incredibly frustrating,” he said.
“Why wouldn’t we be given the same standard as Port Douglas - unfortunately we still suffer with the 1950s standard of reliability.”
Ergon Energy’s manager of regional services Geoff Bowes said the switchover to the reliable 132K V will happen for the region in the “distant future”.
“What’s being suggested is a multi-million-dollar suggestion,” he said.
“Certainly at the appropriate time in the future the intention is to utilise that transmission line, when it is necessary to upgrade the Mossman substation.
“In the interim, we can’t go spend $20-30 million to replace the sub in Mossman that has ample capacity to handle the load in the area.”
According to statistics from Ergon, the Mossman substation has two 10 MVA (megavolt amperes) and one is in use, the second as a backup, and the most demand recorded at the substation was 8MVA in the summer of 2010/11.
This summer the region peaked at 7.57MVA on February 6 and in comparison, the Craiglie substation has two 20MVA transformers, with a peak demand recorded in summer 2010/11 of 19.4MVA and this summer on December 27 the usage peaked at 16.7MVA.
“Unless all of a sudden some- one came in and said they’re going to develop all the area between Newell Beach and Rocky Point and put in a shopping centre, things like that can change the landscape in terms of electricity demand,” Mr Bowes said.
“We’re not very happy with the network number of outages experienced, engineers are reviewing our feeders, our pole maintenance is up-to-date and we’re taking on board that feedback and looking at what practical solutions come up with to improve reliability.”
Mr Mckellar wants switchover regardless.
“The issue is still being vulnerable to failures,” he said.
“The solution is quite simple - I’m a consumer paying increasing amount for electricity and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t expect better service.”
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