Topics:  ex-tropical cyclone oswald, flooding

Essential Energy crews restoring power across region

ESSENTIAL Energy field crews are continuing to restore power across the storm ravaged region today.

In the Clarence Valley, helicopters will be used this afternoon to convey powerline workers into inaccessible areas around Copmanhurst, Coutts Crossing and Iluka to carry out network repairs.

About 200 customers between Upper Copmanhurst and Baryulgil are still without power, while a further 30 customers have lost supply in the Towallum area, off Kangaroo Creek Road.

Essential Energy acting regional general manager North Coast, Daniel Bylsma said that while the extent of damage to the network was not yet known, he was hopeful power would be restored today.

He said repairs were also under way on a high voltage powerline out of Yamba in the Durrington Lane area. About 60 customers there should have their power restored later this afternoon.

"In many instances, strong winds have brought trees down across powerlines or flung vegetation and other debris into the lines, damaging them," Daniel said.

"The conditions are poor and access is a problem due to floodwaters, which aren't expected to peak in the Lower Clarence until tonight."

Essential Energy has brought additional personnel into the area to assist local crews, predominantly around Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads.

In the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen areas, the main problems were experienced around Glenreagh and Bucca, as well as at Hydes Creek and the Promised Land.

Across the region, many individual service lines to customers' residences have been damaged in the wild weather.

"We believe there will be several hundred low voltage service jobs that will need to be completed before power is restored to all customers," Daniel said.

"Our main efforts are focussed on restoring power for as many customers as quickly and safely as we possibly can, but it may be several days before all supply is restored to outlying areas and individual residences."

"People should stay focussed on safety throughout this weather," Daniel said.

"If anyone sees a fallen powerline or other damage to the electricity network, stay at least eight metres away and call Essential Energy on 13 20 80."



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