Sunday, April 26, 2015

Power out(r)age

There's been a lot of weather about for the past week, including a cyclone which resulted in us having no power for 36 hours: no internet, no phones, no communications, no heating.

We were hit on Monday night by a Category 2 cyclone (which we strangely don't call cyclones this far south, we call them East Coast Lows) with wind gusts up to 135kph and regularly around 80-90kph.

It caused predictable chaos, mainly due to the refusal of the power companies to put the bloody power lines under ground.

Up north the cyclones tend to blast through quickly. This one lasted about 36 hours, seemingly endless gale force winds bringing down trees and fences, tearing off roofs.

That was followed by a day of sunshine then, out of nowhere, a hailstorm for about ten minutes, followed by thunder and lightning all night long.

The cyclone was a real disaster. Eight people lost their lives and the state suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. A quarter of a million people were without power for days, and even now there are some who haven't been reconnected.

The cause of that is that the power lines are still nineteenth century style, overground and strung between wooden poles.

Gum trees drop big branches all year round and in wet windy weather they fall over completely. So the trees fall on the wires, and some of the wooden poles themselves are brought down, resulting in live wires coming down.  In summer that causes catastrophic bush fires. No fires in winter, but any time of year, every year, it results in massive costs to the economy.

And every year the power companies parrot on about the cost of putting the cables underground being too high.

Yet year after year, damage of hundreds of millions of dollars is caused to the economy.

It's long overdue that they should be told to cut the crap and put the bloody cables where they belong and where they don't pose a threat. Underground.

The pics show just some of the power lines down along the road between us and the local shopping mall.

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