Blackout: Blame Bracks Frenzy

It was a forty degree stinker on Tuesday this week in Melbourne. The sky was a smoky haze, and the sunlight orange from the bushfires raging around the State. At 4.00pm. The hottest part of the day, the power went out.

It wasn’t just any old power failure. It was a doozy. With power outages across the state triggered when a 330KV transmission line in Tatong near Benalla, tripped out because of a bushfire.

The effect in Melbourne was dramatic, with 1000 sets of traffic lights taken out in the lead up to peak-hour, and the train and tram systems temporarily shut down, and then forced to operate on reduced voltage, a slow, uncomfortable and  potentially dangerous  trip home.

When finally home, many found their houses without power, and no ability to cool the house down in the stifling heat, and the fridge offering up its melting contents without that cheery and familiar light.

Then the news that acting Premier John Thwaites was chairing an emergency Cabinet meeting to consider further power restrictions, and according to The Herald Sun “any bans would be likely to outlaw the use of domestic air-conditioners on penalty of $10,000 fines. People who are terminally ill, pregnant women, the elderly and hospital patients would be exempt.”

Some Herald Sun readers were not too happy.  

Some railed against the loss of liberty, and asserting their rights to do what they choose.

Good luck trying to police the use of air conditioners at homes. If a power company person comes to our house to turn off the air conditioner tonight, I will hit him so hard he would wish he never came. So take this as a warning to any person wishing to police the use of air conditioners tonight. You are risking your own life and I will not back down. By the way, I can’t believe ONE transmission line goes out and the WHOLE state is affected. This is heaven for any terrorists. We make it so easy for them. [George]

Now we are under the cloud of threatning power. I had my cooling system on until 3am this morning. I refuse to curb my power use”¦This country is the biggest laughing stock of the Globe. Even India is far more advanced that us. Gimme a break. Use your A/C more to screw these authorties over. [John of Melbourne asserting his rights as an individual]

I’ve worked for twenty years to finally be able to afford an air-conditoner. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let all those years of paying taxes, water bills and electricity bills go to waste. I’ve forked out enough money to act as I want – screw the environmental impact of my excessive A/C use, screw the 10% full reservoirs et al. [Alan of Melbourne]

Some said the government is incompetent  

Once again we pay for Prack’s incompetence & gutlessness – instead of announcing the construction of more generating capacity (which should have been done years ago), he propses a ban on air conditioners [Mason of Doncaster]

The Bracks government has to realise that we won’t tolerate being punnished for their own incompetence. The only reason why we need a transmission line between Victoria and NSW is because our lazy government has not bothered to build sufficient power stations on our on state. [Peter]

Some blamed privatization

Privatize the electricity companies and you get problems. Look at your electricty bill and ask yourself where that $14 supply service charge is going to? The old statutory service charge dates from the SEC days was for upgrades and service maintenance. $14 from every household per bill straight into the retailer pocket because they do not have maintenance only the wholesaler does. The ask any linesmen or any of the people who USE to clear the area around the pylons and lines and they will tell you of cutbacks and lack of access maintenance [Chris of Melbourne]

One demanded revolution

I had to ride a sweltering bus with 50 other losers home last night and when I got to my flat, the fridge was down and my VB was hot and the leftover lamb went bad….I think we should over throw the government or something. [Eddie of Kew]

One blamed the devil

The fires of Hell? This is only the beginning, the lack of good christian morals and falling church attendance, is responsible for this. Jesus and the God of Love are going to kill you all in hell fires. You have only yourselves to blame. Praise Jesus. [2Shane]

And plenty said that those complaining  were a bunch of sooks and whingers.

Whinge whinge whinge!!!! Having to put up with some hot weather… oh your poor things!! Wake up to yourselves and realise how lucky you are, and stop wasting everyones time whinging about a taken-for-granted luxury [Gary of Essendon]

We have a power outage and all of a sudden our precious city world bubble boy type existence falls apart. You make me laugh. [Jason of Melbourne]

Bloody hell, what a pack of sooks……………… [Dale of Melbourne]

diddums, melbourne people welcome to the real world most of your comments are so selfish and for once why not think of someone else for a change, think of the people who have lost homes in the fires , think of the heat our fire fighters are putting up with, so what you had no power for a short while. [Rainy of Gippsland]

Here’s a nice one from Andy of St. Kilda:

Until yesterday no one gave a hoot about the power set up in Victoria and now that something has happened everyone is an expert / whinger. PRE-EMPT the next problem and start complaining about it NOW people !!

Perhaps the best one though comes from Mary Phillips of Buffalo River. It’s angry but it comes from the heart.

Blame Blame Blame, blame Bracks, blame Howard, I am so over it. You selfish ill educated city dwellers have NO idea. I spoke to my fire fighting husband late last night who has been at Tatong for nearly a week and he told me its like the holocaust out there. Nothing anyone did could stop the menacing fire. Maybe if you all left your cool little city confines and acually ventured into the bush, you might realise these fires, caused by years of drought, caused by global warming, caused by city people and their never ending thirst to use up power and other resources, are the reason for the blackout – fires, stop blaming the goverment. Up here we source own own water, some of us source our own power, we dont rely on anyone else. Stop complaining people you make me sick. My husband on the firefront is working from 7 in the morning to midnight and he hasnt complained once. He doesnt have the luxury of air conditioning – so you can all just SHUT UP!

It does make you wonder how we’d go in a real crisis.  

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Francis X Holden
14 years ago

Did you miss Jeff Kennett getting stuck into Bracksie and Thwaites for blaming it on privatisation. As you can see every one is going slightly troppo and blaming and finger pointing is the big game in town.

I’m telling you they should have special warnings on the end of the hot weather forcasts at times like this:

Me; this weekend I’m hiding all the sharp knives, seperating the guns from the ammo, taking the souvenier samuri swords down off the bar, and I’ll be endeavoring to not be squabbling with the de-facto on a hot saturday night when there’s alcohol involved.

Can’t do more than that.

Gummo Trotsky
14 years ago

Rex,

You should really check out Mirko Bagaric’s article on the blackout – it appeared on the Opinion and Analysis page of The Age business section. It’s a hoot.

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

At least in Melbourne it takes a bushfire to cause a blackout. We’ll be blacked out for the entire month of February here, and nobody can explain why.

Ken Lovell
14 years ago

It does make you wonder how we’d go in a real crisis.

You mean like the internet going down for a few hours?

Gadget
Gadget
14 years ago

I would ask the not so obvious about such events. Generally they would be glossed over, unless of course the opposition is in power, then there would be absolute uproar.

Why werent the options put forth by big bussiness -established for emergency situations- taken up?

Who suffered immensely, and how many suffered?

Who and how many died in the hospitals, and with home care?

What were the crime statistics for the relevant days?

What else went majorly wrong, that we havent yet been told?

Why does lovely Labor get to say ‘oh well, forgive and forget’?

SJ
SJ
14 years ago

It’s becoming clearer now what happened:

Energy authorities were warned before Tuesday’s power blackout that bushfires in Victoria’s north-east could cause a crucial transmission line to cut out —