Power outage leaves region in dark

ALMOST every town on the Far North Coast was left in the dark last night, following the first region-wide blackout in several years.

Casino was the only town spared from the power outage, which began at about 8pm and affected towns from Lismore north to Mullumbimby, west to Kyogle and the coast up to Byron.

According to Country Energy representative Mike Hely, power was expected to return by 9.30pm last night.

Mr Hely said the outage was caused by a fault in the high voltage transmission network.

“Country Energy began restoring power before 9pm, but there isn't a switch we can flick so the whole region gets power at once, and we had to trickle power back to each town over 30 minutes,” he said.

Last night Mr Hely could not explain why Casino wasn't affected.

“We had crews out as soon as the blackout occurred, and will be conducting further investigations to establish the exact cause of the outage,” he said.

The hour of darkness in the Northern Rivers delayed thousands of dinners, stopped thousands in the region from watching the Olympics, and led to at least one emergency call due to a fall. It also delayed Regional Express Airline flights into Lismore Airport.

On behalf of Country Energy, Mr Hely apologised for the inconvenience to customers during the blackout and ensured residents that the company had done everything it could to return power to the region as quickly as possible.

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