BAYSIDE residents left without power during a weekend heatwave may be financially compensated for the loss of refrigerated and frozen food during a widespread electricity outage.
Homes in several Kingston suburbs including Mordialloc and Chelsea were among 50,000 homes across Victoria forced to cope with sweltering heat and humidity as temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius on Sunday evening (28 January).
Premier Daniel Andrews coincidentally visited Mentone the next day to announce funding to build and upgrade kindergartens across the state when talk turned to frustration about the power outage.
At a media conference to announce the kindergarten funding, the Premier said electricity distribution network faults caused the outage.
“This was not a power supply issue,” Mr Andrews said.
“This was about distribution and localised faults.”
He said the Labor state government will “look at all means” to force energy companies to compensate the people affected by the power outage.
The extensive use of air conditioners across suburbs where residents sought respite from Sunday’s oppressive heat may have triggered network outages at a local level.
South east region energy provider United Energy admitted it was to blame for electricity outages across the area after 500 fuses failed across its network.
“We caused this and we’re looking into it as best we can,” United Energy Ross Musgrove told Channel 7 News.
He apologised to those who suffered power outages.
Liberal state opposition leader Matthew Guy said the state government should shoulder the blame for the power outage.
“Energy is an essential service and it is the government’s responsibility to plan for a growing population and to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure to keep Victorians safe and keep the lights on,” Mr Guy said in a statement.
“With Victoria growing by over 100,000 people a year, we need a plan to cater for this growth.
“Daniel Andrews keeps passing the blame onto someone else – but the buck stops with him.”