Action urged over Walpole power cuts

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Power poles generic shots.
Camera IconPower poles generic shots. Credit: WA News

Residents in Walpole and Peaceful Bay have voiced their frustrations about unreliable electricity after a series of outages and fluctuations over the Easter and Anzac Day holidays.

Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman organised a community forum on Monday last week to discuss the power supply issues plaguing the towns.

The forum was attended by more than 70 Walpole comm-unity members and several Western Power representatives.

Concerns were raised about the impact of unreliable power on emergency responders, medical services, local businesses and the tourism industry.

Resident and Walpole Bayside Villas owner Rod Burton said the number of outages in town had cost his business money.

“We’ve got six units in our villa and we had no power during the Easter break,” he said. “Once there’s no power, there’s no heating, no cooking, no TV — it’s pitch black. And you’d hope it will only last for one hour, but it lasts for six to nine hours sometimes, so we had to give our customers their money back.”

Western Power representatives acknowledged the outages in Walpole and Peaceful Bay during the Easter and Anzac Day periods.

They have since upgraded one of the local transformers and adjusted network settings to fix the capacity issues.

“Our local crews began investigating the cause of the outages immediately following the unplanned outages from the holiday period,” a Western Power spokesman said.

“A combination of minor damage from a storm front that passed over the South West at the time and the extra load being drawn in the area by holidaymakers were contributors to the outages.”

Walpole and Peaceful Bay residents say they are also fed up with the frequent “brown outs” in town, where power trips cause households electronics to be reset.

Mr Redman said a long-term solution for the town’s power outages lay in new technology such as solar grid batteries.

“One of the points I was stressing in the meeting is to argue for some of these modern technologies on solar batteries to provide solutions to Walpole’s power outages,” he said.

“Western Power and Horizon Power have got trials around the State on these grid-scale battery technologies that will kick into gear when the power goes down.

“These trials have reduced outages by 80 per cent in some regional areas and I think it’s a technology that could solve the power problems in Walpole.”

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