Australia | Weather

‘I feel sorry for our kaumatua,’ Gold Coast resident following power outage

Gold Coast residents are confronting the prospect of a potential heatwave following “unprecedented” Christmas Day storms that have left approximately 50,000 residents without power. So far 63 per cent of customers have been reconnected, with a dedicated crew of 500 tirelessly working to restore electricity lines for both residents and holidaying tourists.

Kane Tauri (Ngāti Porou) is on Hope Island on the Gold Coast and says his whānau went without power for three days.

“It’s just a humbling experience having no power for a few days. Kids struggled without the internet. I feel sorry for some of our kaumatua as there is a heat wave at the moment. Not having power was tough due to the heat and not having air conditioning.”

Emergency services, including SES, police, and ambulance, received a record number of calls in the aftermath of the storm. Restoration efforts are under way in Cairns, reflecting the large-scale recovery operations taking place across different parts of the state.

Energex has set a goal to reconnect 90 per cent of households by December 31. However, the remaining 10 per cent, primarily in Mount Tambourine and Jimboomba, face significant challenges.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni explained, “The advice is that those areas aren’t able to have power restored; they’ll need to have a power system rebuilt.” He added that the damage is so extensive that rebuilding the house network in those communities is necessary. Alternative generation solutions are being explored for these communities.

A Queensland Christmas Day storm event restoration plan, outlining the timeline for power reconnection in various suburbs and streets, has been released by Energex on its website. De Brenni emphasised the difficulties faced by crews, citing “the amount of vegetation down road access, the heat that’s out there, and some of the very challenging terrain.”