Musk residents angry over power cut as temperature soars

ANGRY Musk residents said they were upset to see Powercor arrive yesterday morning to cut off power during a day of blistering heat and total fire ban.

Electricity distributor Powercor last week told 400 residents in bushfire-endangered Musk of a planned power outage from 9am until 3pm yesterday, while workers replaced electric poles.

After fighting against having the works conducted yesterday, many residents believed the works had been pushed back due to the fire ban.

However, the power in the town went off around 10am when workers arrived to conduct the maintenance.

The area was left without power for more than four hours.

Jim Culbertson, a farmer who had his land burnt out during the 2009 Muskvale fires, said it was ludicrous that the works could not be delayed for just one day.

“The bad experience a few years ago highlighted the need for bushfire preparedness, and that was set right back,” he said.

“It seems foolhardy to proceed with the work and have all these people without power. Nobody disputes the need for maintenance, but we don’t think it had to be done yesterday.”

Temperatures soared yesterday across the region, with Ballarat reaching a high of 38 degrees just after 5pm.

With strong gusts of northerly winds also blowing, conditions were primed for a bushfire.

Another Musk resident, Heather Mutimer, also protested against yesterday’s works.

“Why has this been left so late to do? Why do it on a total fire ban day?” she said.

“We were genuinely concerned. People in the area were pretty angry.”

Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard said he would pursue the issue in parliament in the future.

A spokesman for Powercor said safety was the number one priority and the electricity distributor acted on advice it had received that indicated it was safe to carry out the works.

Today’s temperature is expected to reach a top of 24 degrees after a cool change was expected to sweep through the region today.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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