A mil­lion lost in 24 hours

Lo­cal busi­nesses reel­ing af­ter power out­age

Mansfield Courier - - Front Page -

IT is es­ti­mated that at least a mil­lion dol­lars has been lost from the lo­cal econ­omy af­ter the en­tire shire lost power on Fe­bru­ary 1.

Out for 24 hours, thou­sands were im­pacted when the shire was plunged into dark­ness at 5.05pm.

Caused by a se­vere but brief storm cell, some 38,000 peo­ple were with­out power across the North East with AusNet Ser­vices say­ing Mans­field was one of the worst hit.

“We would like to sin­cerely apol­o­gise to all cus­tomers who lost power as a re­sult of the storm that passed through Vic­to­ria late Satur­day after­noon,” an AusNet spokesman said.

“Dam­age to our lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion net­work caused by high winds and light­ning in some ar­eas caused around 38,000 cus­tomers to lose power.

“Crews worked through­out Satur­day night and across the week­end pa­trolling lines be­fore un­der­tak­ing re­con­struc­tion works at sev­eral dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.

“Cus­tomers in and around Be­nalla, Mans­field and Alexan­dra were most im­pacted.”

Although happy to re­lay the cause of the dam­age, AusNet said it was up to in­di­vid­u­als to con­tact in­sur­ance providers about re­cu­per­at­ing losses as they were not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion.

Equipped with backup gen­er­a­tors, Marks IGA lost around $130,000 worth of stock.

Stephen Marks said it was the first time he could re­mem­ber the power be­ing down for so long with­out warn­ing.

“It’s def­i­nitely had an ef­fect on our trade – we were lucky enough that the gen­er­a­tor could run the com­put­ers, eft­pos and tills so we could stay open.”

Although equipped with backup gen­er­a­tor, a fault with the ma­chines meant IGA was un­able to save their re­frig­er­ated items.

Sim­i­larly, Food­works store man­ager Andy Mar­shall es­ti­mates his losses at over $100,000.

“We didn’t have gen­er­a­tors at the time,” Mr Mar­shall said, ex­plain­ing that he and the crew at Food­works had been look­ing at in­vest­ing in one.

“We now wish we had one though.”

Lesa Brown has owned the Mans­field Ho­tel for less than six months, and said it had been a night­mare.

“We’ve had the worst four weeks of our lives,” she said.

“We’ve had the bush­fires

– we are 80 per cent down in sales across the board – then a mini tor­nado came through and took out our tree, so we have had to close three quar­ters of our court­yard - then the power out­age kicked in.”

Es­ti­mat­ing their loss was up to $80,000 be­tween stock and rev­enue, Ms Brown said they stayed open as long as the day­light al­lowed.

“Satur­day nights are our big­gest trad­ing nights of the week – we had to close our bistro, our bar, can­cel our DJ and close the drive through.

“And there is all the stock loss on top of that – the fridges and things will only hold at a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture for so long.”

Ms Brown said in just 24 hours the sum­mer trade had gone from bad to worse.

“It was an enor­mous loss fi­nan­cially in terms of goods, and a huge loss fi­nan­cially in terms of hav­ing to close up.”

Bon­nie Rogers has just opened The Fields, a new restau­rant on the cor­ner of High and Col­lopy streets.

“We had to can­cel a dou­ble booked Satur­day night, and couldn’t open the Sun­day ei­ther,” she said.

“We threw out pretty much all our stock – we’ve just had to or­der more.”

Ms Rogers said she was dis­ap­pointed no one from the power com­pany had con­tacted them to dis­cuss what had hap­pened.

All busi­nesses con­tacted said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing their in­sur­ance op­tions about po­ten­tial cov­er­age for fi­nan­cial loss.

ON THE ROAD: Mans­field High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cers Se­nior Con­sta­ble Scott Wood­stock (left) and Se­nior Con­sta­ble Paul Swan with the lat­est high­way pa­trol car – fit­ted with Au­to­matic Num­ber Plate Recog­ni­tion cam­eras.

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