Ergon Energy crews have successfully restored power to all electrically safe properties in Queensland’s Townsville region following devastating floods in an effort that involved cleaning, repairing and replacing various electricity infrastructure.

Ergon Energy was able to keep to its initial plan to restore power to 80 per cent of customers impacted by flooding in Far North Queensland by 10 February 2019 and to the final 20 per cent by 12 February.

At the height of the disaster, floodwaters cut power to more than 17,000 homes and businesses, as well as taking a toll on Ergon equipment.

The floodwaters not only severely damaged major components of Townsville’s power network, they filled vital electrical equipment in affected suburbs with mud and silt, all of which needed to be spotlessly cleaned before being re energised.

To assist with the repair task, nearly 150 additional Ergon and Energex field staff were moved in to help local crews to methodically go from asset to asset to clean out the water, mud and silt, make repairs to or replace parts of the network, and then safely restore power.

Since the clean-up began Ergon crews supported by Energex staff have:

  • Restored power to 17,000 customers
  • Assessed, cleaned and repaired all the city’s inundated substations
  • Assessed, cleaned and/or repaired nearly 1700 pillar boxes
  • Assessed, cleaned and repaired around 180 padmount transformers and High Voltage switchgear
  • Replaced two damaged padmount transformers
  • Replaced two switching stations
  • Replaced four poles

At the time of publishing, the only properties that remain without power are either severely damaged or awaiting repairs to make them safe to re energise.

Properties that have been inundated will need a licensed electrical contractor to make required repairs and contact Ergon once all work is complete prior to their individual re-energisation.

Ergon’s Executive General Manager for Distribution, Paul Jordon, praised his team for their tireless work and commended the resilience, understanding and support received from the Townsville community.

“For our crews, this restoration effort has been dirty, muddy and, in many cases extremely challenging, but they are all coming back to the depot each day saying that helping the community has been extremely rewarding,” Mr Jordon said.

“Every day and night our crews have been out there draining, cleaning, drying and repairing the network and the community has been understanding throughout the process, recognising that the power cannot be restored until it is absolutely safe to do so.

“I personally want to say a big thanks to every one of our local staff and those who have travelled from every corner of the state to get the job done.

“I’d also like to sincerely thank the community for welcoming our staff and remaining patient while they worked around the clock to reconnect their properties.”

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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