Peo­ple power wins

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

ER­GON En­ergy will con­duct a busi­ness case re­view into im­prov­ing power sup­ply re­li­a­bil­ity in the Greater Moss­man area af­ter per­sis­tent lob­by­ing from af­fected res­i­dents.

Af­ter 15 years of power black­outs hin­der­ing lives and throw­ing busi­nesses into chaos, Rocky Point Port Views Es­tate Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Mal­colm Mckel­lar is hopeful a meet­ing last Thurs­day with Er­gon man­agers will lead to a so­lu­tion to the power fail­ures.

Mr Mckel­lar said the ma­jor con­cern of the poor power sup- ply re­li­a­bil­ity in the Greater Moss­man area was to im­prove power sup­ply re­li­a­bil­ity in the short term by im­me­di­ately ad­dress­ing is­sues with the lo­cal 22kv electricity dis­tri­bu­tion net­work and on the old and “wob­bly” 66kv Ma­ree­baMoss­man line.

To put an end to the “band aid” mea­sures used to fix up the prob­lem, lo­cals are push­ing to be con­nected to the “bul­let­proof” 132kv Port Dou­glas feeder sup­ply.

Er­gon’s man­ager for re­gional ser­vices north­ern op­er­a­tions Ge­off Bowes gave an un­der­tak­ing to specif­i­cally look at how Er­gon could even­tu­ally move the re­gion on to the 132kv feeder sup­ply at the meet­ing.

A num­ber of al­ter­na­tives have al­ready been iden­ti­fied for re­view and these range from de­vel­op­ing a 132/22kv sub­sta­tion at the cur­rent Moss­man sub­sta­tion site, to util­is­ing the ex­ist­ing Craiglie 132kv/22kv sub­sta­tion and ex­tend­ing the 22kv dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, or build­ing a new sub­sta­tion on an al­ter­na­tive site.

“But first we must de­vel­op­ment a busi­ness case for this project and then ne­go­ti­ate its pas­sage through the ex­ec­u­tive and ap­proval pro­cesses,” Mr Bowes said.

Mr Mckel­lar said if Er­gon agrees to up­grade and in­vest in the much-needed new in­fra­struc­ture, Moss­man’s reg­u­lar power fail­ures could end within two years.

“We have been fight­ing them for the past 15 years to do this and all of a sud­den it seems they are will­ing to move,” he said.

Er­gon’s first stage busi­ness case re­view is ex­pected to be com­pleted by June 30.

If the up­grade is rec­om­mended, in­ter­nal ap­provals and pre­lim­i­nary project scopes would take about 12 months fol­lowed by two to three years for de­tailed de­sign and con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity.

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