Ausgrid warns customers storm outages won’t be restored this weekend


It comes as the city braces itself for more storms this weekend which could exacerbate conditions. A fire warning is in place for the city amid fears more blazes could break out.

Network operator Ausgrid says 700 crews have been working to replace severed lines and broken poles after Tuesday’s severe storms but warned customers to “prepare for outages lasting well into the weekend”.

At 11am today, 9000 residential and business customers on Sydney’s north shore and northern beaches remained without electricity.

Power has been restored to about 42,500 customers.

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Storm damage seen in Gordon, north of Sydney, on Tuesday. Picture: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.Source:AAP

Further complicating the issue, Ausgrid says it had come across many homes where the customer’s connection to the network – such as at the front of a house or a private power pole – had been significantly damaged.

It said regulations prevented its staff from repairing customers’ equipment past the connection point, and urged those affected to contact a qualified electrician to repair damage to their own equipment.

NSW Police has asked members of the public to check on friends or neighbours who might be vulnerable and in need of assistance.

Ausgrid previously said the cyclone-like damage was some of the worst it has seen in a concentrated area.

But the Electrical Trades Union said the length of the large-scale blackout highlighted the impact of job cuts, and claimed the workforce of NSW’s three electricity distributors had been slashed by 40 per cent.

The number of crews available directly impacts the speed of repairs, union secretary Justin Page said in a statement.

“If you have a much smaller workforce, the time the public is left without power greatly increases.”

Ausgrid has been contacted for comment on the union’s claim.

STORMY WEEKEND FORECAST

Pockets of severe weather are expected to persist across the country over the weekend.

Easterly winds are still pushing the smoke haze around Southern NSW and the ACT.

The NSW Rural Fire Service advised 147 fires were still burning across the state with 57 uncontained. An out-of-control bushfire east of Canberra has also now been upgraded to an emergency warning level.

Ausgrid workers remain hard at work, as 9,000 homes are still without power in Sydney's northern suburbs. Picture: Twitter

Ausgrid workers remain hard at work, as 9,000 homes are still without power in Sydney’s northern suburbs. Picture: TwitterSource:Supplied

Fire and severe wind warnings remain in place for NSW, where temps won’t exceed 26C and storms are predicted over the weekend.

A possible shower is forecast for Canberra today, with a cool change to follow on Sunday.

In parts of Queensland, damaging storms, large hail and severe winds are expected. Storms across the southern inland and northwestern parts of the state were forecast for Friday afternoon and into Saturday, with the system pushing east on Sunday.

Showers in Tasmania are expected to redevelop statewide today, with further falls of 5-10mm forecast for the east. The mercury will only hit a max of 19C over the weekend, seeing a return to colder temps for the start of summer. On Monday and Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology has even predicted snow in parts of the state.

A cool change is currently moving through Victoria, with temps expected to plunge this weekend. Northern districts will be up to 15C colder by Sunday, with Alpine snow expected again.

Maximum temperatures are set to be well below the December average, potentially by more than 12C in northern parts of the state. Melburnians can expect a max of 18C today and 17C tomorrow along with a shower or two.

Despite a possible storm or two being forecast for Darwin, temps won’t dip below 34C in the Northern Territory across the weekend.

A wet weekend is on the cards in South Australia, with patchy rain developing, a morning shower or two today and showers expected on Sunday with a cold front. Max temps of 19C are expected over the weekend.

The mercury will remain high in Western Australia, with Perth residents sweltering through a scorching weekend with a high of 33C on Sunday leading into an even hotter week.





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