OODNADATTA News & Events

MINISTER PATRICK CONLON DISPUTE – “IMPROVE SERVICES TO OODNADATTA”

Dear Sir, [Open letter to Mr. Conlon]

In Oodnadatta our electricity is supplied by Energy SA diesel / Lpg generators with distribution and accounts by ETSA. We experience an increasing number of failures despite various upgrades over time.

Your Energy SA Dept refuses to pay rent on our property, which cripples our ability to maintain our services and facilities, but this is a separate matter.

We are experiencing six or so electrical failures a year, a real problem with food refrigeration, school, tourism and hospital and aged care services shut down, exacerbated by extreme weather. The repairs to the towns burnt out electric motors are far more difficult and expensive to effect here than elsewhere when damaged by phase failure and voltage drops.

There appear to be no local linesmen engaged, so a typical breakdown may take 30 or 40 hours as staff is sourced and travel 1000kms from Crystal Brook or thereabouts for the most minor of problems. For example the last major failure this month, (there have been two outages since then) was eventually found to be a faulty meter box on another of your properties (Transport SA Depot – unattended)

After 36 hours when two chaps drove up in a utility and took 30 mins to reconnect the town, NO serious attempt was made to isolate this fault despite the known presence of a qualified electrician. Driving crews typically stay overnight in Coober Pedy en route !!

1. Breakdowns: This poor standard of service would not be tolerated anywhere else in the State. The minister should consider ETSA holding some ladders etc.,here and flying in staff using charter aircraft- we have a 24hr all weather airstrip and we suggest that this would be a safer and more economic method of service delivery

2. Overloads: There appears to be no measuring of phase loads in a town with increasing numbers of refrigerated air conditioners, surely adding to unreliability.

3. Street Light Racism: ETSA refuses to maintain lights on the half of the town that Mr Gary Ellis of ETSA considers to be “non-aboriginal”. (in fact Aboriginal folk are spread pretty evenly around town)

 Mr Ellis says he expects our unstaffed volunteer Progress Association to find street lighting funds for him – an impossible task for us; so he says that has left half of the town in the dark, no service on street lights (or much else) for 4 years approx, because we are unable to supply a free collection service to ETSA.

Is there something we can do about this absurd situation, please?

Adam Plate, Chairman
Oodnadatta Progress Association Inc
PO Oodnadatta
South Australia 5734
p. 08 86707 822
f. 08 86707 831

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