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Power out in Rochester

Rochester businesses will be without power for an extended period this Thursday.

GRAHAM WILLIS July 23, 2014 3:09am

Rochester business owners are furious a planned power outage in the business district on Thursday will mean closure and loss of income.

Around 400 Rochester customers will be affected by the shutdown from 8.30am to about 3pm, while multiple Powercor crews replace more than 20 cross arms, a large power pole and other maintenance items at several locations near Dudley St, Northern Hwy and Gillies St.

All affected properties should have received a letter in the mail.

Regional asset manager Ian Gillingham said it was a standard safety measure to turn off the electricity supply while completing such works.

‘‘The need for these repairs and subsequent shutdown is essential to protect electricity customers and prevent potential asset failures in Rochester, as well as help avoid the possibility of extended power outages at another time,’’ he said.

‘‘We never want to take our customers off supply, but this work is about making the electricity network safer in the Rochester area and the timing has been chosen to help minimise disruptions to customers.

‘‘We would like to apologise to all of our customers who will be inconvenienced by the shutdown and thank them for their understanding as we conduct these important works,’’ he said.

Rochester Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Alan Darbyshire was concerned at the timing of the works for a business sector.

‘‘Local businesses are not happy with the lack of consultation and notification,’’ he said.

‘‘This is a large chunk of our CBD and it is going to cause plenty of angst for businesses and customers.’’

Adding to the confusion is the condition works are reliant on suitable weather conditions.

Rochester butcher Tim Cottam is angry with this condition.

‘‘Which way do I go,’’ he said.

‘‘If I close my business and it rains and the work doesn’t take place where do I stand?

‘‘Do I open up after telling customers I would be closed?’’

Shamrock Hotel publican Ian Crouch was also concerned.

‘‘Thursday is not the ideal day for businesses in the town,’’ he said.

‘‘Sunday would be preferable as less disruption would occur.’’

Majors Supa IGA will operate as normal having made contingency arrangements with the hire of a generator.

‘‘Sadly we only had a week’s notice to organise something to protect $40,000 worth of stock,’’ proprietor Brad Major said.

The Chamber of Commerce is working closely with affected businesses to prepare for the outage with Mr Darbyshire and Campaspe Shire councillor Leigh Wilson contacting every business personally.

‘‘Council strongly encourages residents to plan ahead for the power outage and consider it in their planning for the week,’’ Cr Wilson said.

‘‘Please support the local traders by shopping in town on Wednesday or Friday, rather than taking your money out of Rochester,’’ he said.

The work follows other upgrades in recent years. The previous work has been on a smaller scale and done mainly at weekends.

Powercor will have about 25 workers in town to expedite the works.

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