Jemena pays $50,000 in penalties

Underneath view of an enormous transmission tower (energy prices down)
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Another electricity distributor has been penalised by the state’s energy regulator for leaving customers without power.

Jemena has paid $50,000 in penalties after allegedly failing to give Greenvale customers four days notice about the planned power outage on October 22, 2018, as required under the Victoria’s energy rules.

The Essential Services Commission director of energy Sarah McDowell says while it was a relatively short power outage, it still had the potential to cause harm to customers.

“A power outage is always inconvenient but for the vulnerable or elderly, going without heating or cooling without warning, and potentially also being isolated if they don’t drive, can be harmful,” she said.

Ms McDowell says the distributor’s explanation as to what went wrong is also concerning.

“Jemena told us incorrect labelling on electrical equipment at a substation led to customers who had not been notified being cut off,” she said.

It’s the third time this year the commission has taken action against a distributor for failing to notify customers of a planned outage after it announced a crackdown on the practice in mid-2017.

AusNet Services paid $150,000 after it allegedly left residential and business customers in Bass, Woolamai and Glen Forbes without electricity for three hours on July 18, 2018.

United Energy paid $90,000 after it allegedly left residential customers in Springvale South without electricity for six hours on August 1, 2018.

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