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158 lose electricity & power consumption climbs

By Catherine Clifford, Saturday January 12, 2013 - 20:31 EDT

Essential Energy says 158 customers in Narrabri, Bellata and Mungindi lost power for four hours on Friday.

Crews had to patrol a 180km stretch of line to uncover the fault, which occurred because winds had blown vegetation across the transmission lines.

Regional General Manager, Matt Patterson, says while the heat hasn't directly caused power failures, the storms and winds certainly have.

"There was very little, if anything, wrong with the actual line itself it was some vegetation that came in contact with the line and the network operated the way the network should, sending a signal that said there's a problem and turned off, which it does to protect everybody," he said.

"So, then we do a full patrol, driving the whole line and making sure there's no conductor that's lower than it should be and that could potentially come in contact with anything else along that line."

Matt Patterson says there's also been a 20 increase in electricity consumption by customers in the New England North West over the past week.

He says this is all part of a hot Australian summer and electricity providers anticipate all of these eventualities.

"Moree, particularly, had a peak of 24.2 megawatt hours and that was a 17 per cent increase compared to the week before and it was the same with areas like Narrabri, where we saw a similar peak there as well," he said.

"Tamworth saw a 20 per cent increase over the previous week, but it wasn't as high as the week just prior to Christmas when we had the hot weather then."


© ABC 2013

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