No power surge for Moss­man

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

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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PHOTO BY NEIL WEAVERS

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