A million lost in 24 hours
Local businesses reeling after power outage
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.