Still no power for thousands hit by storms

Mark Fergus pulls his generator into life. A week on from the storm, some 9000 properties in the Ranges were still without power.

Mark Fergus pulls his generator into life. A week on from the storm, some 9000 properties in the Ranges were still without power. Photo: AAP

Emergency crews have begun another day of work to restore power to more than 2000 Victorian households after storms hit the state two weeks ago.

Ausnet Services said on Monday 2289 properties remain off the grid in the Dandenongs and another 80 in Gippsland.

Wild storms hit the regions on June 9 and 10, bringing floods to Gippsland, damaging the Yallourn power station, and leaving more than 200,000 homes and businesses without power.

About 1450 properties are unlikely to have any electricity for another three weeks.

Many families have had to find temporary accommodation because they were unable to heat their homes, as Coldstream recorded a low of minus 2C on Sunday night.

Kalorama parent Nikki Burgess spoke to AAP on Monday as she was navigating roadblocks to drive her two children to their temporary school.

Her children, aged six and 12, usually attend Mt Dandenong Primary, but the school grounds have been damaged and it’s too dangerous for students to return, with families forced to make other arrangements.

“I think some families are doing it tough, there’s a lot of sadness on the mountain,” she said.

“A lot of them are not coping, there’s a lot of fatigue as well, mingled with a bit of anger and frustration.”

But she said her children were taking the opportunity to make new friends at Gladesville Primary School in Kilsyth, which they started attending last Wednesday.

Rhonda and Mark Fergus from Gallery B&B in Olinda said on Sunday they are surviving the cold using a generator, and have had to cancel a month of bookings.

Mr Fergus says help has taken days to arrive, and many people in the area feel let down.

“A lot of them are very angry, and that’s very understandable,” he told AAP.

Australian Defence Force personnel joined the large-scale cleanup effort over the weekend, helping deliver 200 generators.

Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters there were 57 outstanding applications for generators, which would be delivered on Monday.

But Rhonda Fergus worries generators can be dangerous to run.

“Our 92-year-old neighbour filled her generator while it was running,” she said.

On Sunday, the Victorian government announced $2500 weekly payments for businesses that lost power in the storms, while households are already eligible for $1680 payments.


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