Crews battling the elements to restore power

Essential Energy crews across the North Coast are battling the elements to restore power  to more than 14,000 customers between Ocean Shores and Port Macquarie.

The majority of customers have lost supply due to fallen trees across powerlines, brought  about by gale force winds associated with the east coast low moving slowly south-west.

Early this afternoon, Essential Energy had around 100 customers without power at Ocean  Shores, 1500 at Bangalow, 770 in the Federal and Eureka areas, 4500 in the Ballina area, 1300 in the Alstonville and Wardell areas, 2000 in the Yamba, Maclean, Angourie and Redcliff areas, 250 at Red Rock, 1000 at Mullaway, 2000 at Emerald Beach, 160 at  Sapphire and 320 in the Orara Valley west of Coffs Harbour.

There are also pockets of customers without power around Lennox Head, Teven and Goonellabah and further south around Nambucca Heads, Rollands Plains and Port Macquarie.

Acting regional general manager North Coast, Daniel Bylsma said all available crews were  working to restore power, but were facing exceptionally difficult conditions.

“Due to the wet and boggy ground and continuing torrential rain, access to the damage  caused by the extreme weather is our biggest problem at the moment,” Mr Bylsma said. “In some places we are unable to use our elevated work platforms due to the high winds,  while in other areas we will have to wait for the winds to die down before we can even use  a ladder.

“Visibility is also extremely poor due to the driving rain, which we hope will ease in the next few hours.”

He said it was likely some customers would remain without power until later this evening or overnight, due to the current difficulty in assessing the level of damage.

Mr Bylsma urged people to stay at least eight metres away from fallen powerlines and report  them, and any supply interruptions, to Essential Energy immediately on 13 20 80.

“We’ll respond as quickly as we can, restoring power as fast as safety allows,” Mr Bylsma said.  "We just ask that people be patient and please keep safety in mind.

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