Victoria power outages: How to claim $1,600 in compensation
Victoria announces state energy emergency and outage payments for affected households in the state.
Around 7,000 households in Victoria still without power as of 17 June will be entitled to payments of up to $1,680 per week following catastrophic storms.
The announcement comes after damage from the storm floods last week impacted the Yallourn power station and coal mine in the Latrobe Valley, which supplies more than a fifth of Victoria's energy.
AusNet Services said at least 3,000 of the households in the Dandenong Ranges could be without power for the next 3 weeks or until 10 July. The main suburbs without power include Ferny Creek, Kalorama, Mount Dandenong, Olinda, Sassafras, Sherbrooke, The Basin, Tremont and Upwey.
AusNet spokesperson Steve Brown apologised to customers on 3AW, saying power restoration was their only priority right now.
"It is the only thing anyone at our organisation is working on at the moment," Brown said.
"We're getting the lights and the heater and the fridge back on as soon as we can."
Victoria power outage hardship payments
Acting Premier James Merlino expressed his devastation and need for Victoria's state energy emergency in a press conference.
"I've lived in this region my whole life," Merlino said.
"I've never seen the extent of the damage here in the Dandenong Ranges."
The acting premier explained that the current disaster relief payments did not take into account storm damage and electricity losses from last week's storms. It's why the state and federal government were giving weekly hardship payments to affected households.
"That's around $580 per adult and then payments for children so it's up to $1,680," he said. "The depth of winter and weeks and weeks without power, this is an unprecedented emergency."
Merlino said they would try to get payments to people without power as of 17 June, as quickly as possible.
"We are looking at what is the swiftest way to get payments directly to people," he said.
Note: We'll update this section as we learn more about the payment process.
Declaring state energy emergency will allow Energy Australia to carry out emergency works without jumping through regulatory approvals. There's urgent need to divert river water from the cracked mine to stop it from flooding as was the case in 2012, when the Latrobe River forcefully shut down the mine for weeks.
Tips on what to do during the power outage
The Victorian government website also offers some important tips for staying safe during a power outage. It advises to:
- Be careful when using candles and other open flames – keep naked flames away from flammable material.
- Make sure appliances are turned off.
- Not try to connect temporary generators to household wiring. Never use a generator inside or try to modify extension leads to connect power to household wiring.