Bluewater and Black River locals are demanding answers from Ergon Energy on the continuing power outages impacting the region over the last 2 decades.
They have lodged a Request for Investigation with the Australian Energy Market Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week after the latest lot of outages.
Some residents experiencing blackouts up to four times last week, ranging from 2 to ten hours.
Residents are worried about the effects it is having on some of the locals there – with no plan in place to communicate with “at risk” residents or for crisis arising in the area when power is lost.
In addition to the safety fears, due to local of sleep and heat stress, the learning performance and overall behaviour of children is being impacted.
Concerns have also been raised around the impact it is having for residents who work in high-risk jobs.
Some locals suggest Fatigue Management could be an issue for some workers in risky occupations, with a lack of sleep impacting them while either working at heights, operating heavy machinery or travelling long distance to and from work.
They have asked Ergon Energy whether residents in Bluewater are having their power shut off to better handle capacity in Townsville during peak power use.
Residents say their proximity from metropolitan Townsville, they are at greater risk in emergency situations during outage periods
There has been no tangible reason put forward to explain the continuity of the service failures over the last 15-20 years.
The residents have demanded answers from the energy retailer, while also writing to several politicians about the issue, having met formally with Ergon Energy in 2016.
They say since then, there has been no action to improve the infrastructure there, improve the situation, or better communicate about planned outages with locals.
An Ergon Energy spokeswoman says some of the recent outages have been caused from bat strikes, lightning strikes and a transformer fault, and is nothing to do with Network capacity issues.
“We are in the process of redesigning a section of the network prone to bat strikes by increasing the gap between power lines to reduce the risk of outages” she said.
Ergon Energy also addressed some of the lengthy outages experienced by households
“Sometimes faults are easily identified and rectified. At other times crews have to patrol the network section by section to find the fault” she said.
Residents are being encouraged to phone faults immediately to notify them of an outage.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he can sympathise with residents who have experienced outages and the matter has been taken to Energy Queensland Limited.
“They’re investigating it at the moment and if we are not happy with the response then we will be taking it to Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham” he said.