Glenorchy’s power gripes


Glenorchy locals are feeling powerless to solve the township’s electricity problems after another outage lasting two days.

Many residents gathered in nearby pubs and hotels just to keep warm and enjoy some creature comforts after a spring snow dump on Monday morning caused the power cut.

Now they’re calling for an alternative power system or underground power lines to try to stop the lengthy outages they say can happen a few times a year.

Scheelite Avenue resident James Pocock, 38, says the ordeal was “quite disastrous”, with fallen trees blocking the road at Bob’s Cove and cutting off the township.

“It could be more major next time – you could be stuck here for a week or more. Imagine the amount of money that’s going into it.

“Just put that money back into solving the problem.”

Pocock says it happens “all the time” but this is the biggest power outage he’s seen in Glenorchy.

Power problems: Blanket Bay lodge staffer Louis Clarke outside his home on Shiel St

Blanket Bay lodge staffer Louis Clarke, who lives on Shiel Street, says a few guests at the lodge had to fly in by helicopter due to the road closure.

The 20-year-old says a generator planned to be installed to service the township can’t come sooner.

“It’s meant to be in action but we’ll see how it goes, it’ll be great to have it. It’s been a problem for many, many years.”

Camp Glenorchy host Ann Margaret says for people with no electricity it’s “freezing cold” and agrees it’s ironic that heavy snowfall near a ski resort can cause so many problems.

Power was restored to most residents by 6.45pm on Tuesday but 11 properties in Paradise and Kinloch were still waiting yesterday.

‘Can we cook some rice?’

A Queenstown dairy became a beacon of light during this week’s snow-induced power cuts.

Fernhill’s Eight to Late co-owner Brenda Douglas says a group of very cold and hungry Chinese visitors who didn’t have any power came in on Tuesday morning wanting to cook rice.

“I said, ‘I haven’t got a licence’, then I said ‘bugger it, just bring in your rice cooker’. They brought in a huge rice cooker and I let them have a plug. They were so delighted.”

Several locals without power also came in to charge their cellphones.

“They were very nervous because they knew my no-cellphone policy, which was rather gorgeous.

“They were going, ‘oh, this is ironic, I know, but can I charge my phone?”‘

Douglas says she also had to ration candles by breaking open boxes of six and only selling one at a time. She says many stayed home “playing cards and doing old-fashioned things”.

-Joshua Walton and Philip Chandler