A call-to-arms is about to be issued for electricians to assist with reconnecting flood-affected homes

SES personnel and volunteers were unable to conduct nightly rescues and will begin an operation on Tuesday as floodwaters slowly recede with Good Samaritans likely be pary of efforts again. Picture: Stuart Cumming

A makeshift boat ramp at intersection of Uralba and Diadem Streets during record flooding in Lismore on Monday. Picture: Stuart Cumming

AUSTRALIA’S peak electrical body will issue a call-to-arms for 500 sparkies to reconnect power to thousands of homes inundated in weekend floods as battle plans devised during the 2011 floods are reinstated.

“We are trying to build a list of 500 local contractors to go door-to-door and we will test every house the same day we receive the address and, if they are right to be connected, they will go back on that day,” Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards said.

Early estimates suggest the number of houses requiring an electrical inspection following the weekend “rain bomb” has already exceeded 1400.

Floods

Houses, like these, that have been inundated will need to be inspected by an electrician before power is restored, says Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards

However, that number could top 2000 by the time an official count is conducted by Energex, Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards said.

The number of inundated properties over the weekend will be fewer than in 2011 when it took less than three weeks for electricians to inspect about 5000 flood-affected homes, he said.

“I am negotiating with Energex and the government, a co-ordination role because every single house that has been flooded has to be tested before Energex will turn the power back on,” Mr Richards said.

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Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards is hoping to recruit 500 sparkies to inspected inundated houses following the “rain bomb” on the weekend. Picture: Supplied

“It took two and half weeks in 2011 and we were working as fast as we received the addresses and that was 5000 homes.”

The process includes Energex identifying every house that needs to be inspected and then forwarding the address, he said.

Where practical, electricians would be deployed in their local suburb to reduce travel times.

“If the water has gone over low-level power points, they (Energex) will put a sticker on the house until a private electrical contractor has tested to confirm it is safe,” Mr Richards said.

“If the switchboard has gone under it will most likely have to be replaced.

“Normally wiring can be cleaned off and be reused but switches and switchboards can’t.”

Floods

Energex workers will know the extend of the work required to restore power when the waters recede later this week. Picture Lachie Millard

An Energy Queensland representative said a clearer picture of the magnitude of the problem facing electricians will be known by the end of the week.

“At this stage, we are looking at around 2000. This number may change depending on what happens with further tides and what is found once access is gained,” they said.

“In terms of the number of homes inundated, 2011 had many more homes impacted.”

Homeowners may have to foot the bill for an inspection unless they are insured, the Energy Queensland representative said.

“The cost is covered by the homeowner who should contact their insurance provider as part of their overall claim for damage.”

Following copious amounts of rain over the weekend, the Brisbane River reached a major flood level at just under 4m on Monday morning.

It placed hundreds of suburbs at threat, inundated homes, stranded residents and motorists and there are at least two more peaks expected over the next 24 hours.

Authorities say the ‘unpredictable and extraordinary’ weather event was one ‘never seen before’ with up to 1500mm falling in some locations in the past few days – equal to a year’s rain.

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