Essential Energy crews were notified of a power outage in West Tamworth early Monday morning after electricity network protection equipment automatically activated upon detecting a problem.
Essential Energy Community Relations Manager Northern, Bronya Pressler said this happens “to ensure the safety of the public and their properties".
“Upon arrival, crews discovered a motor vehicle had impacted the electricity network, causing significant damage,” Bronya said.
Due to the nature of the incident, emergency services attended the scene. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was taken to Tamworth Hospital in stable condition, reporting of pain to their neck and lower limbs.
The incident had switched off the power to 937 homes and businesses at 2.14am.
By 3.17am, power was restored to 549 customers.
“Essential Energy crews worked as quickly as safety allowed to isolate the damage to the network” Bronya said.
The vehicle impact caused a cross arm, resulting in broken powerlines, bringing them to the ground.
“Our crews are currently working to carry out repairs and at this stage, we expect power to be restored to the majority of the remaining 388 customers by lunchtime today, however around 60 customers will remain without power until crews’ complete inspections at these properties, and they are deemed safe,” Bronya said.
Excessive voltage not only damaged Essential Energy’s network, but also customers’ private electrical installations. According to the energy company, “it is necessary for crews to inspect each of those premises for damage prior to reconnecting their power”.
“Where a customer’s premises has been assessed by Essential Energy and deemed unsafe for reconnection due to damage to any part of their electrical installation, customers must engage an electrical contractor to inspect and, where necessary, repair their property before power can be reconnected,” Bronya said.
The public is reminded that, if a vehicle contacts the electricity network, occupants should stay in the vehicle if it is safe to do so and immediately contact Essential Energy on 13 20 80.
“If there is immediate danger, such as a fire, occupants are advised to jump clear of the vehicle – avoiding contact with the ground and vehicle at the same time – until at least eight metres away,” Bronya said.
For their own safety, it is extremely important that the public always treats fallen powerlines as live.
“We thank the community for their patience and understanding as crews work to restore power to customers as quickly and safely as possible.”