“HOW can they approve a new 900-lot subdivision if they can’t handle the number of houses they’ve got here now!”
That was the response from one Cape Paterson resident after the power was cut to 120 homes last Friday morning as a result, according to a technician from AusNet Services, of an overloaded substation.
Iain Ritchie of Marine Street said he was woken up on Friday morning at about 3am with the power to his phone flashing on and off.
“I thought it was just one of those things that happens,” he said.
By the time he woke up later in the morning, AusNet Services had been around to more than 100 houses in an area including those in parts of Sail, Anglers, Marine and Anchor streets and cut the power off while they repaired/replaced the substation.
“They must have broken into the meter boxes at about 5am because they left a letter saying the power would be reconnected by 2pm that afternoon.
“It was getting pretty hot so I guess a lot of people had their air conditioners and that sort of thing running and it just got overloaded.
“There’s a meeting at the Cape Hall tonight (Monday, January 9) where the number one topic of conversation is likely to be the 900-lot subdivision they are proposing.
“There’s nothing down here at the moment. No services, no nothing. Not even enough power, so how do they think they can accommodate another 900 houses. That’s the question I’d be asking.”
The law of unintended consequences for would-be developers.
But the power surge and subsequent outage did have direct consequences for those affected.
“As it turned out, I didn’t have any appliances damaged but there’s a lot that did,” said Iain.
Air conditioners, fridges, freezers and TVs all damaged to some degree just as one week’s renters were finishing up and another due to go in.
“The only inconvenience for me was that you had to be there when they came to reconnect your power and check your appliances. My power finally came back on at 6pm but fortunately I had someone who could be there because I had an appointment,” he said.
Yvonne and Gary Kitney in Marine Street didn’t get the power back on until Saturday morning at about 10am and although none of their appliances were damaged, a lot of the perishable food they had in the fridge-freezer and freezer was ruined in the hot conditions.
“They told us to take a photo of the things we lost and we would be compensated,” Mrs Kitney said.
“But people did lose things. There were boxes of new electrical equipment in the front yard of a place near us where they had tenants going out and some coming in. I’m not sure if that affected their rentals.
“AusNet were pretty good about it but it caused a lot of trouble,” she said.

Concerned residents
Facebook has been running hot with people’s concerns.
He’s what one person posted, suggesting AusNet call a meeting with residents so everyone gets the same information:
“Has anyone had any luck with starting claims with AusNet since the power surge? So many questions etc. Possibly a meeting in Cape with AusNet to give everyone the same answers? I’m not a resident of Cape but my mum is a long-term resident who is getting very upset with it all and I’m sure she’s not the only one.”
She went on to say that a relative had lost her split system, fridge (with $200 worth of food) television, two hand-held phones, DVD/VCR player, and medi-alarm.
“An electrician came today and certified that split system, only six months old, is beyond repair. We are currently trying to complete the claim forms to send off ASAP,” she said.
The lady said she had contacted the insurance company but received the response that because it was a power serge they will not cover anything.