It’s lights out in Kalgoorlie-Boulder - again!

Neil WatkinsonKalgoorlie Miner
Prominent Kalgoorlie-Boulder businessman Ashok Parekh has backed a petition calling for an inquiry into recent blackouts.
Camera IconProminent Kalgoorlie-Boulder businessman Ashok Parekh has backed a petition calling for an inquiry into recent blackouts. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

There were no Friday night lights in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for a short time when the Goldfields capital was hit by another power outage.

The power went out about 5pm last Friday, with Western Power estimating 15,000 customers were affected in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and surrounds.

Kalgoorlie’s normally bustling Hannan Street resembled a ghost town as major hotels and restaurants, as well as the main pharmacy on the street, closed during the blackout.

Power was restored on Hannan Street about 6.45pm.

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A Western Power spokesperson said the outage was the result of a transient fault causing the 220kV line to trip because of weather conditions in the area.

The spokesperson said Western Power crews and network operations team worked as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, with the vast majority of customers restored by about 7pm.

“The remaining 120 customers whose power supply was affected due to an additional localised fault that occurred during the initial outage were restored later that evening,” the spokesperson said.

In January the city was affected by a catastrophic multi-day power outage as temperatures soared to 40C, triggering a furious reaction from locals and the WA Opposition that had the WA Government promising to work towards securing a more reliable power supply.

A week after the January 17-18 outage Premier Roger Cook said the existing back-up system — comprising two turbines in West Kalgoorlie operated by Synergy — which was due for replacement would be exchanged for a more reliable system.

“We are committed to doing everything we can with regards to creating a more resilient (power) system,” Mr Cook said when he spoke to media in a Hannan Street business in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on January 25.

However, WA Opposition Leader Shane Love last week slammed the Government for “abandoning” city businesses since the outage.

Mr Love also last week tabled a petition in Parliament — driven by prominent local businessman Ashok Parekh — that called for an independent inquiry into what went wrong in January, as well as better compensation for affected business owners.

Mr Parekh told the Kalgoorlie Miner that many Goldfields businesses had lost significant amounts of money during the outage, and there should be “greater compensation”.

“People like myself could probably afford to deal with it, but you know there’s a lot of small businesses that have lost a lot of stock and things are getting very tight,” he said.

“Those people who have been affected, we just want to make sure that they’ve been compensated properly.”

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