West Coast locals looking out for each other

Wudinna District Council mayor Eleanor Scholz.

Wudinna District Council mayor Eleanor Scholz.

The council’s yearly letter has arrived from SA Power networks urging councils to think about what we would do if power was lost during extreme heat or a bushfire and if we have to deal with an extended power outage.

This letter is ironic following nearly a year of inquiry with all Eyre Peninsula councils participating along with Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula.

Electranet’s preferred option for upgrading the electricity supply on EP will give Eastern and Lower EP a more reliable supply but will essentially leave out the Far West Coast beyond Wudinna.

We appreciate that SA Power Networks and ElectraNet are constrained by the Australian Electricity Market Commission rules but we must to continue to lobby these parties to seek customised generation solutions for the West Coast.

SA Power Networks believes councils should ensure bushfire action plans account for potential loss of power, that councils should consider backup electricity generation to ensure everyone stays safe.

Other recommendations include keeping mobile devices fully charged to keep in touch with latest weather, fire and power information – all good if the mobile towers and phones are still working.

It recommends a battery-operated radio, which, yes, we agree is a reliable source of information, and advises general information on electricity supply issues can be sourced from www.sapowernetworks.com.au or by contacting 13 12 61.

Thankfully it did not take a year to look for local solutions.

Following an early meeting at Port Lincoln with Minister Koutsantonis, Wudinna District Council received a grant to buy a generator to ensure power to light the airfield during outages. The council will also fund a generator to keep the Emergency Services Complex operating if power is lost.

It’s tough when a district that runs on volunteers is knocked back on the purchase of a generator to keep emergency services running for all in need! At least there is a commitment from regional CFS to cover installation and running costs. 

Care for our vulnerable people, neighbours and families is important during times of need and I am thankful to be living on Eyre Peninsula where despite being overlooked in many instances we look out for each other.

Eleanor Scholz

Wudinna District Council mayor