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Ausgrid asks for army’s assistance as 40,000 homes remain in the dark

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Energy providers are calling for the army to help with the storm clean-up as tens of thousands of homes and businesses remain without power.

Energy Minister Matt Kean is supporting Ausgrid’s request for military’ involvement and is pushing for it to be fast-tracked.

Almost 40,000 properties are still in the dark following a weekend of wild weather, believed to be the largest rain event Sydney has seen in more than 20 years.

Ausgrid Chief Operating Officer Trevor Armstrong tells Alan Jones they don’t have the resources on hand to deal with such a big storm.

“It’s the second largest storm in Ausgrid’s history. All good businesses don’t resource up to the level of the devastation of this type of event.”

Mr Armstrong says they can get all customers back online by the weekend… if they get the army’s help.

“Getting that extra support is what will mean the difference between this weekend and next week.”

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However, the union says the privately-run energy companies should employ the workers themselves.

Ausgrid, Essential and Endeavour have cut more than 5000 jobs in recent years, leading to longer blackouts for customers.

Electrical Trades Union Secretary Justin Page tells Alan Jones crews are stretched to their limit following months of bushfires and storms.

“They’ve been continually working around the clock, long hours, long days, trying to restore power with inadequate resources.

“They’ve continued to shed people as a result of the Australian Energy Regulator determining their revenue.

“The framework is flawed, it needs to change.”

Alan Jones agrees, saying calling in the army isn’t the answer.

“No. The answer is, change the whole model in relation to electricity provision.”

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