By Derek Schlennstedt
Ausnet has defended its decision to go ahead with a planned outage in the Yarra Ranges despite a state wide total fire ban being declared.
The electricity supplier went ahead with the planned power outage despite the high-risk fire area being vulnerable on a Total Fire Ban day.
Power was off at 389 sites across townships such as Chirnside, Coldstream, Gruyere, Wandin and Seville from 8:30am until 2pm.
Glen Monteith from Wandin said he was surprised to learn the outage would be going ahead, despite the fire danger rating.
“We were given roughly two weeks’ notice and followed up with a text 48 hours beforehand,” he said.
“When we checked yesterday, last night and this morning at 7am it didn’t have any details so we assumed it was cancelled but then bang on 8:30am, the power dropped out.
“It’s concerning for us, as we live on a street with a lot of elderly people and quite a few new mother’s.
“I know it’s a planned outage and that’s fine but in weather like this it should have been postponed.”
An Ausnet spokesman said the maintenance was considered a critical safety issue and was carried out despite the hot weather to mitigate bushfire risk.
“It was critical to have this work complete for the safety of the community, but we do understand how difficult it is to be without power today and do apologise for the inconvenience and thank customers for their patience while we do this critical work,” the spokesperson said.
“This work does form part of the bushfire mitigation program which is best preparing the network for safety compliance.”
Crews replaced three power poles and worked on high voltage cross-arms.
Power was restored at 2pm.