WE’VE GOT THE POWER

Yel­low army of 900 vol­un­teers lights up Whit­sun­days again

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Carruthers Peter.Carruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

ERGON En­ergy is re­port­ing that all homes in the Whit­sun­days have power re­stored af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie touched down 16 days ago.

More than 900 Ergon work­ers on the ground have suc­cess­fully re­stored power to 65,000 homes ahead of sched­ule.

Zone co-or­di­na­tor Ge­off McGraw said staff from Cairns to Stan­thorpe had heeded to call to re­store elec­tric­ity to the Whit­sun­days.

All have cho­sen to forgo be­ing home with their fam­i­lies at the end of the day.

“We don’t force peo­ple to come on these things, they all vol­un­teer to come down here,” he said.

Mr McGraw said the peo­ple of the Whit­sun­days had “over­whelmed” work­ers with their gen­eros­ity.

“We have got mem­bers of the com­mu­nity de­liv­er­ing cook­ies and bis­cuits to the guys on the side of the street.

“There was an ice cream truck that stopped and said ‘hey guys have an ice cream’.”

Keisha McEwan, from Proser­pine, was up at 4am last Satur­day to make sand­wiches for the Ergon work­ers.

She works for Wes­tend Cash Store, who be­gan sup­ply­ing work­ers with their lunch last week.

Nor­mally Ms McEwan gets paid but in­stead she do­nated her time in grat­i­tude for what Ergon is do­ing.

“It was for the Ergon work­ers, they have been cop­ping so much neg­a­tiv­ity and I wanted to see a smile on their faces,” she said.

Work­ers at Wil­mar’s Proser­pine mill also ex­pressed the com­mu­nity’s grat­i­tude by drop­ping Easter in­spired good­ies on Mon­day.

The only houses now with­out power are build­ings with struc­tural dam­age, and where home own­ers will need to em­ploy an elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor to un­der­take re­pairs and make the prop­erty safe. Ergon then needs to be ad­vised the prop­erty is ready to re­ceive power.

Mas­ter Elec­tri­cians Aus­tralia has ac­ti­vated a free hot­line to help af­fected home own­ers find the near­est avail­able con­trac­tor to re­pair dam­aged prop­er­ties.

The num­ber of the hot­line is 1300 889 198.

PHOTO: PETER CARRUTHERS

TEAM EF­FORT: Ergon En­ergy's Whit­sun­day zone co-or­di­na­tor Ge­off McGraw and his team muster at Club Croc in Can­non­vale on Sun­day morn­ing.

PHO­TOS: CAMERON LAIRD

ALL FIXED: High volt­age line re­pairs near Proser­pine.

Proser­pine ap­pren­tice Luke Ri­ley EO.

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