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Thousands of Victorian homes still without power

A three-person panel will investigate how power firms responded to a storm that knocked out supply.

A three-person panel will investigate how power firms responded to a storm that knocked out supply. Photo: AAP

More than 16,500 Victorian homes remain in the dark as electricity workers struggle to restore power after Tuesday’s extreme weather event.

Most properties without power are in Melbourne’s outer east and northern areas, as well as the eastern and north-eastern part of Victoria, according to the latest status update issued on Saturday morning.

Electricity supplier AusNet Services has 16,333 affected customers in these areas.

In southeast Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, there are 144 properties still to be reconnected. Their supplier is United Energy.

The storms left about 16 homes at Mirboo North in the Gippsland region uninhabitable.

The Yarram and District Health Service and Korumburra Hospital in Gippsland are expected to have mains power restored on Saturday evening while they run on back-up generators.

Crews have been busy repairing powerlines and clearing vegetation this week. There were 530,000 properties without electricity in the immediate aftermath of the storms.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action said it may take more than a week for homes in the most impacted areas to have power restored.

Victorian households without power for seven days are eligible for a relief payment of $1,920 per week for up to three weeks.

‘Victorians who need help are getting it’

Electricity distributors will offer the payment, funded by the federal and Victorian governments.

Premier Jacinta Allan said the weather event has had a devastating impact on many communities.

“We’re making sure Victorians who need help are getting it as quickly as possible,” she said.

Meanwhile, the premier has rebuked the federal Nationals leader, accusing him of trying to reignite the climate wars as regional communities mop up from destructive storms.

David Littleproud argued Victoria’s mass power outages caused by the storms could have been avoided if the state produced nuclear energy.

“If small-scale nuclear plants were built where retiring coal-fired power stations are now, you could minimise the need for new transmission lines, reducing the risk of these incidents,” he said this week.

Collapsed transmission lines caused the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley to shut down.

But authorities insist the widespread outages were caused by local transmission damage and not a lack of energy supply.

The premier said she was not surprised by Mr Littleproud’s nuclear call.

“There seem to be people who … have the privilege to stand in front of a megaphone and use a national disaster for base political purposes,” she told reporters in Mirboo North.

“We see this time and time again from conservative politicians in Canberra, who instead of being down here on the ground … would instead try and use this to progress their own political agenda and to keep the climate wars going.

“We’re talking here this week about widespread destruction as a direct result of a catastrophic wind event like we have not seen before.”

-AAP

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