The decision by the regional electricity distributor Essential Energy to close two depots at Peak Hill and Trundle from 4th September has not been welcomed by the Parkes Shire and Electrical Trades Union (ETU). The decision by Essential Energy is part of an ongoing series of cuts to employee numbers and regional depots.
Mayor of Parkes Cr Ken Keith said: “Vital services like the ones Essential Energy provide, are critical to the sustainability of smaller communities. These communities deserve and expect the same level of service that people receive in larger metropolitan and regional centres. Whilst Essential Energy has stated that these employees will not be losing their jobs, the communities of Peak Hill and Trundle will receive reduced services with increasing waiting times to receive emergency after hours services”.
The ETU also pointed out that the reduced services would result in slower emergency response times. “At the moment, when a car hits a telegraph pole, wind brings down power lines, or a house catches fire, local crews are available at Trundle and Peak Hill to respond, including after hours,” ETU assistant secretary Justin Page said.
“From next month, emergency services will be forced to wait for up to an hour for power to be isolated. “This delayed response not only impacts on the ability of emergency services, it puts the safety of the public at risk and services will take longer to restore.” The Mayor said he had been contacted by local community members who were concerned about the flow on effect the removal of these jobs might have on their communities.
“Council calls on Essential Energy to review this decision,” the Mayor said. “As Essential Energy is a government owned corporation, Council will be making submissions to the Minister for Energy and Utilities, Essential Energy and the Local Member for Orange.”