Most of the Victorian households still left without power after last week’s “unprecedented” storm will be reconnected in the next 36 hours, but others will have to wait until next month.
The June 9 storm left a colossal path of damage, felling trees and power lines, leaving thousands of homes without electricity.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said utility AusNet had advised that of the 4000 homes still without power, 3172 would be reconnected by the end of this weekend.
However, with high winds expected for parts of the Dandenong Ranges, more trees weakened by the storm could come down and take down more power lines, she warned.
Ms D’Ambrosio said an additional 186 households would be reconnected by Friday, but 1450 would remain off supply until July 10.
The hardest hit of those residents are being offered 8kW generators – sufficient to power some lights and a small heater – to restore some comfort to their homes while they wait.
Ms D’Ambrosio said 200 small generators were now available from the CFA State Logistics Centre in Scoresby.
“They are available and ready to be deployed for those Victorians who indicate that they have a need for a generator,” she said.
“Those most in need will have the first priority.”
A starter kit including fuel, a jerry can, leads and importantly, safety instructions are being included.
“We have been liaising and taking advice from Energy Safe Victoria to understand and receive proper instructions in terms of how these units are to be deployed, where they are to be deployed,” the minister said.
“They need shelter but also not be located within the home because there are safety concerns.
“There will also be ongoing support available for those Victorians who may need a top up of fuel supply.”
Households suffering the prolonged power outage are being offered a one-off payment of $1680.
Ms D’Ambrosio said AusNet had already approved and validated 100 applications.
“You don’t have to wait for AusNet to send you a text message … you can get on their website any time,” she said.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said six advice warnings had been issued for minor flooding, mainly from the Yarra River but all the way through to Genoa, after significant rainfall overnight, with up to 46mm falling in some areas.
He said a severe weather warning for damaging winds in alpine areas was expected to be lifted by Saturday afternoon.
“This morning there were another two trees that came down on the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, which was closed,” Mr Crisp said.
“It is a reminder that the conditions, particularly up in the Dandenongs with those trees, is still perilous.”
More than 600km of road had been opened up in the area, which had been limited to locals-only, Mr Crisp said.
The Australian Defence Force has been helping with the state government-led emergency response and an additional request for support was made overnight, with a further 120 ADF members now deployed.
Mr Crisp defended the time it had taken to get boots on the ground.
“Last Wednesday night, when the storm hit, we had the floodwaters impact areas across the state – it was dangerous … it was really dangerous for a few days,” he said.
“It takes time for the emergency services and local government to put together the initial impact assessment work and to really understand what is required.”
Originally published as Thousands left in dark after storm