Anger in Alice as blackout lingers
Alice Springs home and business owners were yesterday left outraged after the town suffered a long blackout that unions said could have been avoided by the Northern Territory’s public utility managing its system better.
The NT government last night promised to “take appropriate action” if necessary, amid claims the government-owned generator and network operator trialled untested procedures during a restart, prolonging the outage by several hours.
Coming into the hottest part of the year, many people were forced to close businesses or knock off early after power supplies failed just before 10am yesterday. Power was restored to some areas quickly, but not until after 6pm elsewhere.
Territory Generation, part of the public utility, has sought to close the ageing Ron Goodin power station and replace it with one at Owen Springs. The Australian understands system restorations in the past were led by the Ron Goodin, but that TGEN needed to prove it could manage with only Owen Springs.
Electrical Trades Union NT organiser David Hayes said a system restoration led by Owen Springs had not been done before. “Ron Goodin could have had power back on to the town in a shorter time frame, but decisions in Darwin caused delays,” he said. “We believe that (test) should’ve been done as a simulated black start (system restoration) rather than a real one.”
A spokeswoman for Power and Water Corporation and TGEN acknowledged the Owen Springs black-start process had not been fully tested but denied it delayed the system restoration.