Australian power company to pay $15 mn for blackouts

Canberra: South Australia Power Networks said on Thursday that it would pay more than $15 million in compensation to customers who were subject to unnecessary lengthy blackouts in 2016, a media report said.

More than 70,000 customers were expected to be given the payment, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 150,000 properties in South Australia were left without power on December 28, after a vicious storm cell felled power lines and trees.

It was the second major blackout to hit the state in three months.

South Australia Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts described the storm and its trail of destruction as the worst the company had experienced in 30 years.

“It was probably about three times worse than any previous storm we have experienced, both in terms of the guaranteed service level payments we’ll have to make, and the minutes of supply lost for customers,” Roberts said.

“We’re going to be making payments to about half the customers affected.”

He said that households which were without power for up to 12 hours could expect payment of $75 dollars, while those affected for more than 48 hours would receive up to $450 dollars for the inconvenience and cost of replacing perishable foods and other items.

Roberts said the delay in fixing the issue was a result of poor weather following the storm, and was not a reflection of inadequate manpower or management.

“For example, we were unable to undertake restoration work in the Adelaide Hills for many hours as wind gusts reached up to 120-km per hour and the winds did not abate until around 9 a.m. the next morning,” Roberts added.