Generators email irks power clients

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A ‘‘bog standard’’emailed response to Clyde businesses recommending they buy generators has caused further anger towards Aurora Energy.

The lines company asked businesses affected by the nine-hour blackout on June 14 to email it, detailing losses, and most received a reply last week.
Business owners were offered a refund of one month’s line charges.

The email closed with: ‘‘If you are a business for whom a continuous supply of electricity is essential, then you might like to consider the option of a backup generator.
‘‘Our team are happy to advise on the solutions available to you if you believe your business needs this additional contingency.’’

The Old Clyde Bank cafe owner Wendy Hecht-Wendt said on Friday most businesses got the same ‘‘bog standard’’ email.
Affected businesses would be credited line charges via their energy retailer for an unplanned outage of more than four hours, she said.
Her credit amounted to $318 — well short of the cost of a day’s lost trade.

Eade Gallery owner Melanie Eade said the noise created by generators would be disruptive and Aurora was taking a ‘‘sorry, not sorry’’ approach.

Retired Delta engineer Steve Tilleyshort said use of generators was an expensive option when considering purchase, installation, inconvenience, cost of fuel and routine maintenance.
‘‘This is a return to old technology with noise, fuel handling and storage and being a safety and environmental disaster.
‘‘I have not allowed for compliance with fuel storage.’’

Businesses can deal with four-hour planned outages through a mitigation plan, Mr Tilleyshort said.
‘‘For Aurora to advise their clients to install their own generation is admitting their inept asset management in the past and their advice for the future places their ability to manage the vast quantity of money and maintenance and growth planning in serious doubt.’’
Line charges were instituted to pay for maintenance and growth, Mr Tilleyshort said.
‘‘This money has been stripped out of Aurora over the past 20 years and they are now asking those that paid those line charges to pay again.’’ He made cost estimates of generator installation and these did not include fuel and regular servicing costs, he said.

For a simple retailer, an 8000W generator, installed, cost an estimated $7000, with automatic changeover and starting. For a small dairy or cafe with refrigeration, a 14kVA generator installed cost $11,000, again with automatic changeover starting. For a restaurant with electric heating, cooking and heating, a 22kVA generator cost would be $16,000 — with automatic changeover starting.
Each installation would have to be evaluated for use patterns and load size, Mr Tilleyshort said.

When it came to orchard frost-fighting, orchard, vineyard, farming, and dairy irrigation he would suggest a diesel motor pump set.
For farming and dairy electric pivot irrigators he suggested a diesel generator set.
‘‘Each pivot would require a generator because of distances between pivots, at an average cost $7000.
‘‘For dairy sheds, a mechanically driven generator run off a tractor power take-off.
‘‘As part of my recent employment as a professional network and distribution engineer and construction contractor, I designed, priced and projectmanaged major developments on the Aurora Central Lakes district power network,’’ he said.