Posted on 27. Oct, 2011 in News

The Baillieu Government’s election commitment to undertake every recommendation of the Bushfire Royal Commission could leave many parts of the state without power during periods of high-fire danger, Shadow Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said today.

It’s understood the Government is considering a recommendation that during days of high-fire danger power would be cut to large parts of the state, leaving families, businesses and farms without electricity for extended periods.

Ms D’Ambrosio said it was believed the option was contained in the Powerlines Bushfire Safety Taskforce final report, which the Baillieu Government had refused to release.

“If the Premier and the Energy Minister Michael O’Brien are considering allowing power to be cut on days of high-fire danger, then why are they refusing to discuss this with the community?” she said.

“Having extended power outages will significantly impact older Victorians, emergency communications and industry in regional areas, so the Baillieu Government should at least outline whether it’s considering these measures.

“Mr Baillieu and Mr O’Brien need to either rule out extended power outages or start talking to the community about what the consequences will be.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said there were already concerns the Baillieu Government was considering slugging Victorians $10 billion for the partial replacement of SWER and 22kV lines in high-risk areas.

“The community should be given the opportunity to comment on the costs of replacing powerline identified in the final report before Mr O’Brien makes his decision,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The Government must be upfront with the community about how expensive replacing powerlines will be.

“Mr O’Brien and Mr Baillieu simply cannot make these important decisions without talking to those families and businesses that will be most affected.”

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