15,000 homes without power

THIS morning around 15,000 homes remain without power on the North Coast following yesterday afternoon's severe storm front.

Essential Energy crews will continue power restoration efforts today. 

The storm caused widespread network damage across the region and at its height, around 36,000 customers were without power between Bulahdelah and Casino.

Worst hit were the Upper Hunter and lower North Coast, taking in Dungog Shire to the coast and north to Gloucester, Taree and surrounding areas.

This morning around 15,000 customers remain without power, as crews continue to assess the extent of the damage and carry out repairs.

Essential Energy North Coast regional manager, Brendon Neyland, said strong winds had blown vegetation across powerlines in numerous locations, bringing the lines down. Lightning strikes also damaged electrical infrastructure.

Affected areas include in and around Tea Gardens, Bulahdelah, Dungog, Failford, Forster, Gloucester, Wingham, Upper Landsdowne, Hannam Vale, Byabarra, Rollands Plains, Nambucca Heads, Yellow Rock, Dorrigo and further north to Maclean, Lawrence, Woodburn and Casino.

“All available crews will be on the job this morning,” Brendon said. “We’ll be looking at bringing in additional workers from outside the affected areas to speed our repair and supply restoration efforts.

“Depending on the damage found, in many areas we were able to restore supply to large numbers of customers yesterday afternoon and into the evening, but there will still be many jobs to complete today, particularly in rural areas.

“We appreciate people calling our supply interruptions hotline 13 20 80 to report no power. This number received a very high volume of calls yesterday and we apologise to anyone who couldn’t get through or who had to wait on the line.

“We’d like to assure our customers that we will be working as quickly as safety allows to restore supply.”

People should not approach fallen or damaged powerlines, or touch any objects the lines may be in contact with. Stay at least eight metres away and contact Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.