No real power security changes

Twelve months on from the storm that caused a statewide blackout and left Eastern Eyre Peninsula residents without power and telecommunications for days, local mayors are not confident much has changed when it comes to power security in the region.

Parts of Eastern Eyre Peninsula had to wait up to 70 hours to have their electricity and telecommunications restored after a storm on September 28, 2016 triggered a blackout.

Since then the state government has commissioned Tesla to build a lithium ion battery, to provide emergency backup power for the state.

Cleve District Council mayor Roger Nield said it was positive the government was trying to do something.

“They’re trying to put stuff in place to stop it happening again and we haven’t had any blackouts since but I can’t really tell if anything has been improved,” Mr Nield said.

“We’re not self-sufficient though, we still rely on Victoria, which always has downfalls.

“As a state that produces so much, we should be self-reliant with our power.”

Franklin Harbour District Council mayor Robert Starr said his council did not trust the government’s backup.

“We’ve put in our own back-up generators at the institute, which is connected to the council offices, and I believe a number of other major council areas have done the same,” Mr Starr said.

“The IGA here has backup generators and has filled its roof with solar panels because it can’t afford to lose power.

“The area doesn’t trust the government’s electricity backup systems.”

Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson said his council had been trying to prepare itself for any future blackouts.

“We haven’t had anymore blackouts but we also haven’t any warm weather yet,” Mr Johnson said.

“Council has pushed hard with the telecommunication companies for back up options but we’re disappointed with their response.

“We haven’t even had any information regarding what sort of generator we would need to power their phone towers.”

He said the council had been making submissions to all the reports and reviews but was disappointed by the response.

“It seems like a lot of effort has gone into the issues in Port Lincoln, rather than the issues on the rest of the peninsula,” he said.

The Kimba council has been conducting a feasibility study into solar power as a back up for the town.