Shops in power struggle

John and Delmae Haydon of Iluka Quality Meats, Ron Taylor of Iluka Pharmacy and Jeff Mackenzie of Foodworks celebrate a win over Essential Energy who wanted to turn off power on a weekday in their street.
John and Delmae Haydon of Iluka Quality Meats, Ron Taylor of Iluka Pharmacy and Jeff Mackenzie of Foodworks celebrate a win over Essential Energy who wanted to turn off power on a weekday in their street. Adam Hourigan

IT'S a small victory for Iluka's business community following a clash with Essential Energy over a planned power outage to upgrade infrastructure during one of busiest days of their year.

Frustrated with what appeared to be a lack of understanding from the energy provider, Iluka business owners last week spoke out against "unfair" treatment when Essential Energy refused to back down from their plans to effectively shut down all tradein the village on Wednesday October 3, in the middle of school holidays.

The town centre would have been without power for up to eight hours.

To add insult to injury, small business owners said they were expected to foot the tab on transport and installation costs for a back-up generator; in excess of $1000 for the day.

Following inquiries with Essential Energy made by The Daily Examiner and Councillor Richie Williamson, the company took notice and made arrangements to ensure business owners would not be out of pocket.

Iluka Pharmacy owner Ron Taylor said the business community had initially been outraged by the response from representatives of Essential Energy and thanked Mr Williamson and The Daily Examiner for the support leading to their win against the power company.

"Essential Energy has done an about face; they have back-flipped," Mr Taylor said.

"I've spoken with other businesses in Iluka and we have now received a call (from Essential Energy) to inform us a generator would be supplied and installed at no cost to us, which is a great result."

In response to The Daily Examiner's questions, manager community relations north coast Rachel Hussell said that Essential Energy had been in contact with local businesses and had received positive responses from customers regarding arrangements for the day.

"Essential Energy has commenced work on a new powerline to Iluka, which will provide a back-up power supply to the village, improving the reliability and sustainability of the local electricity network," Ms Hussell said.

The major upgrade involves the replacement of power poles and electrical infrastructure where the underground network meets the overhead network in Spencer St.

To allow field crews to safely complete the work, a planned supply interruption is required on October 3, from 8.30am to 4pm.

Topics:  businesses, essential energy, iluka, power outage



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