About 24,000 still without power as Victoria’s storm recovery continues

About 24,000 Victorian homes and businesses are still without power five days since a storm swept across the state.

Disaster relief payments of up to $42,000 will be available for homes and businesses that need immediate relief after damage from floods and storms.

Still no power in Kalorama as emergency services work to clear the storm damage.Credit:Carole Rushbrook

“We took a walk in our community and most of the power lines have been pulled down by big heavy trees,” she said.

“Until all the trees are cleared AusNet won’t be able to come in and do anything with the electricity.”

“It’s a tough battle for them. And I think they’re working really hard.”

AusNet spokesperson Steve Brown apologised to customers who still don’t have their power switched on.

“We are incredibly sorry, we understand that waking up for the fifth day in a row with no power is a pretty terrible circumstance,” he said on 3AW.

“[Restoring power] is the only thing anyone at our organisation is working on at the moment. We’re getting the lights and the heater and the fridge back on as soon as we can.”

“Our crews have an incredibly difficult job having to clear multiple areas where vegetation has taken down our lines, make repairs, re-string the lines, testing to make sure they’re safe, and then they move on a couple of hundred metres and do it all over again.”

Mr Brown says although people in storm-affected areas are becoming tired they must be cautious when clearing their neighbourhoods.

“Please treat any downed wires or damaged electrical infrastructure as live and stay as far away from it as you possibly can,” he said.

About 180,000 homes and businesses were reconnected to power by Monday morning.

Mr Brown said Ausnet had partnered with local governments to form recovery hubs in areas where it will be several days until the power is turned back on.

“You can charge your phone, we’ve delivered care packages with essential supplies like food and sanitary supplies. We’ve got some temporary generators put in place so we can power community centres service stations and other facilities,” he said.

SES commander Mark Cattell said the flood clean-up would take a few days.

“The main focus is getting roads cleared for communities to get in and out. We’ve still got several roads closed and the size of the trees up in the Dandenongs are not garden variety trays, they’re quite large,” he told Nine’s Today show.

Local efforts to help storm-affected communities are also emerging across the state.

An art gallery in Upwey has offered parents in the local area a refuge where families without power can entertain their children and charge their devices.

Birrinja gallery ran the refuge on Sunday afternoon and will re-open from Tuesday to Friday with an open door policy from 10am to 5pm.

A bakery in the Dandenong Ranges served 100 litres of hot soup and curry to their local community on Sunday.

More to come

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