Essential Energy spent the day repairing power lines around the region after heavy winds brought down trees and power lines.
Essential Energy spent the day repairing power lines around the region after heavy winds brought down trees and power lines. Marc Stapelberg

Power cuts could last days

THOUSANDS of Northern Rivers residents and businesses remained without power yesterday due to damage created by ex-cyclone Oswald, and it could be days before service is restored.

Some customers have been without electricity for more than 36 hours.

Essential Energy acting regional general manager North Coast Daniel Bylsma said crews were on site early yesterday morning, working to restore power to Byron Bay CBD where a large tree had fallen over powerlines on the corner of Kingsley and Massinger Sts.

Work was also carried out on Broken Head Rd to remove a tree tangled in pow- erlines.

"In some instances we are finding numerous faults on the same line," Mr Bylsma said.

He said that as well as damage to high voltage powerlines, many individual service lines to customers' residences would need to be repaired.

"We believe there will be several hundred low-voltage service jobs that will need to be completed before power is restored to all customers.

"Our main efforts are focused on restoring power for as many customers as quickly and safely as we possibly can, but it may be several days before all supply is restored to outlying areas and individual residences."

Essential Energy enlisted a helicopter yesterday to patrol areas isolated by floodwaters in the Byron hinterland, including Goonen- gerry, Main Arm, Wilsons Creek, Federal and Lavertys Gap.

Crews from across the North Coast region were assisting with repairs to the network in Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.

Meanwhile, more than 300 rural customers left without water in the Rosebank, Clunes, Eureka, Binna Burra and St Helena areas for a day and a half were expected to have their service resumed between 6pm-8pm last night.

Rous Water manager of operation services Wayne Franklin said engin- eers were able to access and fix the problem around 4pm yesterday.



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