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Tropical Cyclone Veronica - latest update

Update - Thursday, 28 March 2019 - 12 pm

Heavy rainfall caused by Tropical Cyclone Veronica has closed a number of roads between Pilbara towns, resulting in a disruption to gas deliveries to the power stations in the West Kimberley region.

Horizon Power is asking customers in the West Kimberley towns of Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing to assist them in conserving power station fuel supplies and maintaining a reliable and safe power supply for all customers.

Retail and Community Manager Jodie Lynch said customers were encouraged to consider cutting back on any unnecessary electricity use, where it was safe to do so.

“Cyclone Veronica has delivered extensive rain and flooding to the Pilbara region, resulting in a temporary closure to the Great Northern Highway and causing disruption to gas deliveries for power stations,” Ms Lynch said.

“Whilst agencies are doing what they can to open these roads, we are mindful that if customers can conserve power during the peak, we can remain confident of existing reserves.

“Although Horizon Power does not expect this request to be prolonged, it is part of our contingency strategy, should the roads remain closed for longer than expected. 

“If customers are elderly, unwell or very young we do not anticipate they need to reduce their power use,” she said.

A few simple steps to help conserve power include:

  • Wherever possible, turn off any unnecessary lights and non-essential appliances
  • If you’re using the air conditioner, set it to 24 degrees, or consider using fans instead
  • Turn off your pool pumps
  • Please consider using backup generation, if you have this availableHorizon Power appreciates that this may be an inconvenience to some customers and looks forward to providing an update as information becomes available. If any customers are without power, we encourage them to contact our Faults and Emergencies Line on 13 23 51. For more information on ways to save energy, contact the Horizon Power Residential Account Enquiries line on 1800 267 926 or Business Account Enquiries Line on 1800 737 036.

ends

Media contact

For Horizon Power media enquiries, please telephone Kaye Hopkins

Media Line: 1800 799 745

Mobile: 0436 635 827

Email: kaye.hopkins@horizonpower.com.au

Update - Wednesday, 27 March 2019 - 12 pm

Horizon Power crews have started restoring power supplies to customers in Karratha and surrounding areas who were impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Veronica.

Accompanied by emergency services, crews patrolled the area to assess the impact of destructive winds and heavy rainfall to electrical infrastructure.

Acting General Manager Operations Laurie Curro said that the cyclone caused power outages to around 250 of Horizon Power’s 18,000 Pilbara customers.

“We have managed to restore power to the vast majority of residential customers. Our priority is now those remaining commercial customers who have been without power for the past few days,” Mr Curro said.

As at 9.00 am, approximately 1 customer on the Burrup Peninsula, 16 in Point Samson and 2 in Roebourne’s Harding Dam area are without power.

Customers can assist Horizon Power with their restoration work, and ensure their safety, by staying at least 10 metres away from electrical infrastructure and reporting any damage and faults to 13 23 51.

Mr Curro said customers should check their meter box or switchboard to see if any switches (circuit breakers and safety switches) had tripped or fuses blown before reporting loss of power supplies to Horizon Power, as crew attendance wouldn’t be required in these instances.

Advice to customers

  • Take care when cleaning up as fallen powerlines can be hidden in branches, debris or water can be extremely dangerous.
  • Do not play or swim in floodwaters as there may be unseen live and dangerous electrical wiring or fallen powerlines which might be hidden by debris in the water.
  • Do not use any electrical appliances that have been damaged or submerged in water. After the cyclone has passed, have a licensed electrician inspect water-damaged appliances to make sure they are safe.

Update - Tuesday, 26 March 2019 - 9:30 am

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Veronica has finally weakened and the ALL CLEAR has been given for the communities of Mardie, Whim Creek, Point Samson, Roebourne, Karratha and Dampier.

Our Port Hedland and Karratha crews are assessing the impact of strong winds and flooding over the weekend and have commenced work to restore damage to electrical infrastructure. 

Approximately 53 customers on the Burrup peninsula, 16 in Point Samson and two in Roebourne are without power. 

For the latest updates on Ex-Tropical Cyclone Veronica visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au

Although the All Clear has been issued we still encourage customers to report any outages or part power faults to us on 13 23 51.

Update - Monday, 25 March 2019 - 4:30 pm

The town of Port Hedland received the All Clear earlier today which enabled our Port Hedland team to start assessing damage to our electrical infrastructure and commence restoration works where it was safe.

Escorted by emergency services, our teams were able to assess damage to infrastructure in some areas near Karratha where the red alert remains in place but it was safe to do so.

Thanks to the efforts of our crews, we have successfully restored power supplies to a number of affected areas, including South Hedland and majority of Point Samson earlier today.

Approximately 40 customers in Karratha, 16 in Point Samson, two in Roebourne, and 20 customers on the Dampier airport feeder are without power. As power is being restored, crews are working to respond to individual customer reports of outages.

While Tropical Cyclone Veronica has been downgraded, a Red Alert remains in place for the areas between Mardie and Whim Creek, including Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha and Dampier.

Acting General Manager Laurie Curro said the safety of our people and communities is our number one priority.

“I would like to recognise the outstanding work of our crews, who were working hard to restore power today despite challenging conditions,” Laurie said.

The weather has picked up this afternoon and it is no longer safe for the teams to be patrolling the broader Karratha area. Work to restore power supplies to the remaining customers will continue when the red alert has been lifted and its safe to do so.

Update - Monday, 25 March 2019 - 12 pm

Horizon Power crews in Port Hedland have started assessing damage to its electrical infrastructure following the All Clear for Tropical Cyclone Veronica.

Wild weather caused by Tropical Cyclone Veronica impacted power supplies throughout the Pilbara including South Hedland, Karratha, Point Samson and Roebourne over the weekend.

Acting General Manager Operations Laurie Curro said crews had started patrolling assets to prioritise the restoration of power to our customers.

The Red Alert is still in place for the communities between Port Hedland and Mardie including Whim Creek, Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Karratha and Dampier, but not including Port Hedland and South Hedland.

“Reconnecting power to our customers in Point Samson is our top priority once the red alert is lifted".

“The Point Samson customers have been without power since Sunday morning, due to the destructive winds damaging the above ground line that feeds the underground network in the area,” Mr Curro said.

He also said that of approximately 9,000 customer connections in Karratha, 200 customers remained without power and from approximately 8,000 customer connections in Port Hedland, 40 customers remained without power.

“Although the All Clear has been issued for Port Hedland we still encourage customers to report any outages or part power faults to us on 13 23 51,” Mr Curro said.

“The safety of our employees and community is always our number one priority".

“If you are experiencing any power related issues, please don’t assume we know about it. Call our faults line and hold until after the automated message to report your specific situation. This will make sure we have it logged and can get a crew member out to you as soon as we can".

He urged customers to stay at least 10 metres away from damaged infrastructure – the length of two cars - or if any power infrastructure didn’t look right and call Horizon Power immediately on 13 23 51.

For the latest information, please visit emergency.wa.gov.au and listen to ABC radio on your battery-operated radio.

Advice to customers

  • Take care when cleaning up as fallen powerlines can be hidden in branches, debris or water can be extremely dangerous.
  • Do not play or swim in floodwaters as there may be unseen live and dangerous electrical wiring or fallen powerlines which might be hidden by debris in the water.
  • Do not use any electrical appliances that have been damaged or submerged in water. After the cyclone has passed, have a licensed electrician inspect water-damaged appliances to make sure they are safe.

Operational Update

  • Horizon Power crews from Port Hedland have started assessing damage to its electrical infrastructure following the All Clear for Tropical Cyclone Veronica.
  • As of 11:30am today, the following numbers of customers are experiencing power outages:
    • 40 customers in South Hedland which is estimated to be restored this afternoon
    • 33 customers in Stovehill and Burrup areas of Karratha
    • 163 customers in Point Samson
    • 2 customers in Roebourne
  • For Port Hedland, Horizon Power will need to isolate the power to customers in Bell Street Port Hedland to enable emergency repairs to be carried out after damage from Tropical Cyclone Veronica. Customers will be without power for up to three hours. Power is estimated to be off from 12.30pm today. Further updates will be provided.

Update - Sunday, 24 March 2019 - 3 pm

Wild weather caused by Tropical Cyclone Veronica has impacted power supplies throughout the Pilbara including South Hedland, Karratha, Point Samson and Roebourne.

As of 2.30 pm today, the following number of customers are experiencing power outages:

  • 42 customers in South Hedland, which includes the Port Haven Village
  • 33 customers in Stovehill and Burrup areas of Karratha
  • 163 customers in Point Samson
  • 2 customers in Roebourne.

Horizon Power Retail and Community Manager Michelle South said that due to the severe weather conditions and path of the cyclone, customers throughout the Pilbara should prepare for power to be off for an extended period of time if their power does go out.

“We encourage customers to unplug all non-essential electrical appliances, keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed and only use mobile phones for emergencies and to report outages,” said Ms South.

“Our crews won’t be able to assess damage to our electrical infrastructure, or begin restoration works until the red alert has been lifted".

“The safety of our employees and community is always our number one priority,” she said.

If you see damaged electrical infrastructure or something that doesn’t look right, please stay at least 10 metres away – which it the length of a large bus - and call Horizon Power immediately on 13 23 51.

Customers are reminded to report any outages to Horizon Power on 13 23 51.

The towns of Wickham and Dampier are supplied with electricity by Rio Tinto. To report an outage in these towns, please contact the Pilbara Service desk 1800 992 777 and use option 4 to record the fault.

For the latest information, please visit emergency.wa.gov.au and listen to ABC radio on your battery-operated radio.

Update - Saturday, 23 March 2019 - 7 pm

A red alert has been called for Pardoo to Whim Creek including Port Hedland and South Hedland in the Pilbara with Tropical Cyclone Veronica expected to make a severe coastal impact early tomorrow morning. 

The strong winds, heavy rainfall, flooding and coastal storm surge that we’re seeing in the Pilbara due to Tropical Cyclone Veronica is likely to damage power infrastructure.

While there is underground power in Karratha and Port Hedland, heavy flooding can affect the sub-station, mini-pillars and underground electrical infrastructure in the region.

Horizon Power crews are unable to attend to faults or outages during a red alert and will need to wait until its safe.

This will mean customers may be without power and possibly internet, mobile phone services and water, for some time. We’re asking that our communities to prepare for this situation and have a battery operated radio to keep up to date with emergency announcements.

If you see damaged electrical infrastructure or something that doesn’t look right, please stay at least 10 metres away and call Horizon Power immediately on 13 23 51.

Keep up to date with emergency announcements at www.emergency.wa.gov.au.

Update - Friday, 22 March 2019 - 4 pm

With Tropical Cyclone Veronica set to hit the Pilbara coast over the weekend, Horizon Power is reminding customers in the region to keep safe and prepare for potential power outages.

Acting General Manager Operations Laurie Curro said it is important customers know what to do to prepare for any power outages that may be caused by Tropical Cyclone Veronica.

“I encourage customers to check their emergency kit is up to date, their mobile phones are charged and they have a battery operated torch and radio on them at all times,” said Mr Curro.

“Horizon Power is well prepared to respond to any potential damage to electrical infrastructure. Our crews in Karratha and Port Hedland are on standby and all planned maintenance works for the Pilbara have been postponed.

“Our crews will be doing everything they can to keep the lights on, however with heavy rainfall expected to cause flooding, it is possible that we may need to disconnect some customers in areas where flood waters around our assets pose an electrical safety hazard,” he said.

Damaged electrical infrastructure may appear harmless, but could be live and potentially dangerous. Community members are encouraged to stay at least 10 metres away (approximately the same length as two cars), warn others and call Horizon Power immediately on 13 23 51.

Please report any faults, outages or electrical infrastructure that looks to be damaged to 13 23 51. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and report it.

Media contact

For Horizon Power media enquiries, please telephone Melanie Speed.

Contact Media line: 1800 799 745

Emergency WA

Visit emergencywa.gov.au for the latest Tropical Cyclone Veronica updates. 

For emergencies, dial 000. To report an electrical fault, outage or fallen powerline,

call Horizon Power on 13 23 51