Bats trip 66,000v power line
A COLONY of flying foxes at Maclean took out a high-voltage power line on Tuesday night, leaving the Lower Clarence in the dark for up to three hours.
As many as 10,000 Country Energy users were affected, and many restaurants lost hours of trading time and money.
About 8.30pm several flying foxes tripped the 66,000 volt line. Power in some areas was not restored until after 11.30pm when businesses had packed up and gone home.
Country Energy Far North Coast regional general manager, Richard Wake said crews patrolled the line and found several dead flying foxes near a span just east of the river.
“Unfortunately several animals were electrocuted between the lines,” Mr Wake said.
Clubs and restaurants sparked up generators and relied on gas to get them through. However, trading went ahead without air-conditioning and fans.
Diners at Frangipan restaurant in Angourie were offered a limited menu under candlelight.
For many this was not a problem, but others walked out.
The protected species is responsible for about one outage a month.
Tuesday’s blackout occurred on the eve of an $8 million project to build a new powerline between Koolkhan, just north of Grafton, and Maclean, and refurbish the existing line.
Country Energy plans to place underground the final few spans of both the new and existing powerlines into the Maclean zone substation. This will significantly reduce the chances of the bats coming into contact with the line.