It has been a batty prob­lem

Hope­fully prob­lem be­hind the Biggen­den area’s loss of power has been re­solved

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Erica Mur­ree erica.mur­ree@cnbtimes.com.au

IT HAS been a frus­trat­ing cou­ple of weeks for Biggen­den and dis­trict res­i­dents with the sud­den dropping out of power.

Er­gon se­nior cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­vi­sor Rod Re­hbein said cus­tomers in Biggen­den, Degilbo and Dal­larnil may have ex­pe­ri­enced a few mo­men­tary power sup­ply in­ter­rup­tions, most likely ev­i­dent by lights dim­ming, fans briefly slow­ing or clocks need­ing to be re-set.

“These volt­age fluc­tu­a­tions ap­pear to have been re­lated to a bat colony roost­ing on 66kv lines near the Childers His­tor­i­cal Com­plex,” he said.

“This is near the start of the line that sup­plies com­mu­ni­ties out to Biggen­den.”

“The mo­men­tary dips in sup­ply were caused by bats’ wings mak­ing con­tact between wires.

“It seems a wellinten­tioned lo­cal had has been re­mov­ing bats’ bod­ies be­fore Er­gon crews were able to in­ves­ti­gate.”

Mr Re­hbein said the af­fected stretch of net­work has now been al­tered – to ex­tend the dis­tance sep­a­rat­ing wires – to en­sure they are wide enough to pre­vent bats’ wings mak­ing con­tact between them.

“This work was com­pleted on Fri­day,” he said.

“We be­lieve this has been suc­cess­ful to date, but we will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the si­t­u­a­tion.”

Er­gon apol­o­gises to cus­tomers for any in­con­ve­nience they ex­pe­ri­enced as a re­sult of this prob­lem.

Be­fore the bat so­lu­tion, Er­gon had taken to the skies “to fly the lines” af­ter com­plaints from Biggen­den lo­cals.

Mr Re­hbein said fly­ing the lines was one of their stan­dard meth­ods for try­ing to lo­cate faults that were not easy to find.

“In­ter­mit­tent faults of this type are more chal­leng­ing to iden­tify than those that cause the power to stay off,” he said.

At the same time, sugar cane farm­ers in Childers are re­ported to be in dire straits af­ter power out­ages left crops with­out re­li­able ir­ri­ga­tion as pumps shut down from the un­ex­pected out­ages.

❝ In­ter­mit­tent faults of this type are more chal­leng­ing to iden­tify than those that cause the power to stay off.

— Rod Re­hbein

PHOTO: MELISSA BROOKES

FAULT FIND­ING: Fly­ing the line is one of Er­gon En­ergy's stan­dard meth­ods for try­ing to lo­cate faults that are not easy to find.

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