TO ASSIST people impacted by energy outages, a Prolonged Power Outage Payment of $1680 per week for up to three weeks will be extended to all eligible households who were still without power as of Thursday, June 17.

The payment will be administered by AusNet and help families buy the basics, find alternative accommodation and get through this difficult period, the state government said.

The government has written to the Acting Prime Minister requesting that this payment – which is expected to support around 7000 households – is co-funded under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

This is on top of the Emergency Re-establishment Payments announced on Sunday, worth up to $42,250 for households, where their home is uninhabitable or inaccessible for more than seven days.

The government is also in discussions with Ausnet about payments owed to their customers who experienced outages over the last week.

“We know that these storms have had just as serious an impact on these communities as a bushfire and we know the recovery will be just as difficult. That is why we have asked the dedicated team at Bushfire Recovery Victoria to step across to support the clean-up and recovery work for communities impacted by storm damage, and still suffering with loss of power and communications,” the government said.

“This team have been supporting affected communities in the recovery from the 2019 bushfires and they have the experience and the skills to deliver the support that’s needed.

“The Emergency Management Commissioner has also made an initial request to the Australian Defence Force for personnel to assist with logistics and planning on the ground. There will be further requests made in coming days.

“In addition, a State Energy Emergency has been declared in response to the impacts of flooding in Gippsland on the Yallourn power station, which has caused significant cracks in the banks of the Morwell River Diversion and the wall of the mine.

“The proclamation was approved by Governor in Council this morning on the recommendation of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, based on advice from the Minister’s Department, and was endorsed last night by the Security and Emergency Management Committee of Cabinet.

“The situation at Yallourn has been the subject of detailed briefings over the past week and it has become clear that swift action to stabilise the mine walls is essential to protect the state’s interests and ensure ongoing energy security.

“If the mine flooded, Yallourn power station – which provides around 22 per cent of Victoria’s power – would either stop operating or operate at a significantly reduced capacity, potentially for months.

“Declaring the emergency means the urgent works needed to divert the swollen river away from the mine to repair the riverbanks and the mine wall can be authorised quickly, without the need for prolonged approvals.

“Despite the damage to the Yallourn mine and the impacts it is having on power generation, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) advises there are no forecast supply issues for Victoria, due to low winter demand and the diversity of Victoria’s energy generation.”