State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has called on Ausgrid management to explain why 15 linesmen where kept in the Wallsend depot yesterday, despite more than 100,000 homes and businesses remaining without power across the Ausgrid Network.
Ms Hornery has spoken with the Electrical Trades Union who raised concerns about workers being forced to undergo a first aid refresher course instead of assisting to get homes and businesses back on the network.
According to the ETU, management refused to reschedule the first aid course to allow the linesmen to travel to the Central Coast to help the already stretched and overworked crews restore power.
Ms Hornery is calling for Ausgrid to explain why crews were not sent to the Central Coast and why the training was not rescheduled.
Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery
“Training and first aid are very important and are vital for employees to have skills in, but when there is a major power outage like this, surely things can be rescheduled.”
“Employees raised concerns yesterday after speaking with other workers who have been slogging it out on the Central Coast trying to restore power to over 100,000 homes and businesses who have now been without power since Sunday.”
“The ETU told me that training and courses have been rescheduled in the past when disasters like this come up, but management yesterday refused the workers calls to postpone the training and allow them to help out on the Central Coast.”
“Workers on the Central Coast have been working overtime and extended shifts to try to get power restored. The number of linesmen who are the workers who restore power following a storm has been slashed and Ausgrid keeping 15 behind for first aid training shows how out of touch they are.”
“Fallen power lines and dangerous conditions have led to a number of people being electrocuted. Ausgrid had office staff patrolling the Central Coast yesterday reporting downed lines instead of having linesmen on the ground making the area safe.”
“It’s a bit rich for Ausgrid to now be calling for assistance from the Army when they refused to allow staff to help yesterday.”
“Management needs to explain why workers were not sent to assist homes and businesses that were without power and why the training course was not rescheduled.”