HILLS’ residents left without power on Christmas Day will not be able to claim compensation from Western Power, which is blaming the eight-hour blackout on a kookaburra.
A spokesperson for the utility said crews responded to outages on December 25, 2016 in Stoneville, Mundaring, Parkerville, Mount Helena and Gidgegannup which affected 1600 customers.
“The outage began shortly after 6am with approximately 1440 customers restored by 1.30pm and the remaining customers restored by 2.30pm,” the spokesperson said.
“The attending fault crew identified the cause as a bird strike, because a dead kookaburra was found near the pole and there was evidence of carbon scoring at the top of the pole.”
Desarae Wood said the power outage could not have come at a worst time.
“We had five large roasts to cook for a big family lunch,” she said.
“It was lucky our pizza oven came to the rescue and we managed to get lunch on the table eventually.”
Kelly Moore said they lost everything in their fridge on Christmas Day.
“We were away for the day and couldn’t even transfer it to an esky,” she said.
Lauren Risby said she spent the day at her daughter’s house.
“It must have been a very big bird to put the power out for so long and on Christmas Day of all days,” she said.
“Are Western Power living in this century?”
Western Power said the time taken to restore power was hampered by a number of factors.
“Crews repaired the pole but due to Department of Fire and Emergency Services fire warning restrictions, we could not restore power until the affected line was inspected visually,” the spokesperson said.
“Crews conducted the inspection but the process was time consuming due to the length of the feeder line and the number of poles and insulators that needed to be inspected.”
Cass Stacey said affected customers deserved compensation.
“On Christmas Day the average fridge would have been brimming with food and likely many would have had expensive seafood that went off,” she said.
“I think they are deserving of a measly $80.”
In a letter to residents Western Power said it had undertaken a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the blackout.
“Our policy is that compensation can be paid for loss or damage only if it was caused by our negligence.
“In this instance the fault recording data does not indicate any cause related to our incorrect action, or the failure or inappropriate operation of our equipment,” the spokesperson said.
“In addition the interference to your electricity supply was caused by an unexpected event that was not within Western Powers control or caused by Western Power’s actions.
“Your request for compensation was assessed in accordance with Wester Power’s claims management policies.
“Although we regret the loss or damage you have incurred, the result of our assessment is that we are unable to meet your claim for compensation.
“If insured we suggest you present this letter to your insurer for consideration.”
By Sarah Brookes