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Smiths Gully resident claims power company turn his power off on hot days

3AW Mornings

A Smiths Gully resident who survived the Blake Saturday bushfire says his power company has been turning off his electricity on fire danger days, because he refuses to foot the bill to relocate his power lines.

Richard Morris told Heidi Murphy his company, AusNet, say he is liable for the bill to relocate his power lines underground.

Mr Morris claims he’s been asked to pay $30,000, and says he doesn’t dispute the power lines need to be moved, he just doesn’t want to pay for it.

“The pole that the power runs through is defective,” Mr Morris said.

“Unfortunately the new supply has been located 60 metres north of where we are, making it completely inaccessible.”

But AusNet say Mr Morris’s line is defective and unsafe.

AusNet provided 3AW with the following statement:

Unfortunately Mr Morris left out several important details about his faulty private electric line in his interview on 3AW.

There is an extensive safety regime governing all power lines. Private power lines are the responsibility of their owner, and defective private electricity lines must be replaced with an underground service.

Mr Morris’s private electric line was found to be defective, and a potential safety risk, some six months ago. Since then AusNet Services has had many meetings and discussions with him and his wife, to get them to meet their personal obligations to fix their line and remove the safety risk.

We discussed the location of a new underground pit with Mr Morris, from which he could connect a new underground service.

The Morrises were advised that placing the pit in this location required an easement across a neighbour’s property. AusNet Services sought this easement, but was refused. We asked Mr Morris to negotiate the easement, but he has not done so.

As a result, the pit had to be put in the nearest location possible. The Morrises have been kept fully informed about developments.

We understand that Mr Morris is in a difficult situation, but we have no discretion in this matter. As Mr Morris has not made his line safe, we are required to turn off his power supply on Total Fire Ban days, to protect his family and the local community.

The safety of the community in relation to the electricity network is paramount, as is AusNet Services’ obligation to comply with safety rules and regulations.

3AW Mornings
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