A South Australian councilor has described how he felt “left behind” in an “unlivable home” after being without power for nearly 10 days.
After battling through one of Adelaide’s worst storms, Holdfast Bay Councilor Will Miller endured a grueling nine days without power despite repeated attempts to contact SA Power Networks to resolve the issue.
He received several text messages telling him that power had been restored or that crews were working on it, but his lights still remained useless.
Mr Miller, who has just been re-elected councilor for Somerton Ward in Holdfast Bay, said power went out during the storm in Adelaide on November 12.
“We didn’t really think much about it, so we gave SA Power the space to fix it and we had a strong belief that it would be done,” he said.
By the following Monday morning, Mr Miller’s electronics and lights were still useless, despite receiving the first of many text messages from the utility company saying that power had been restored.
Mr Miller said that after calling to tell them the issue had still not been resolved, he was told the complaint needed to be re-registered.
He was then informed that there were other, more recent, failures that required more attention than he did and his claim would have to wait.
“Basically, from then on, there was no update, no information, no power supply fix, or any indication that it would be fixed,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Miller, who works from home and relies on electricity to get his work done every day, had no choice but to rely on family and friends.
“When you’re living out of a backpack and you don’t know if you’re going to pack for two nights or a week, or nine days what it ended up being, you need to know what reasonable preparations you need to make,” he said.
“My roommate was able to visit his partner’s house and my other roommate was able to stay at his mother’s house, so we could rely on the goodwill and charity of others.
“But we don’t know how many people in South Australia have been affected in the same way as we have and whether these are people who are powerless both in terms of electricity and in terms of the ability to cope with the blackout.”
During his powerless days, Mr. Miller grew increasingly frustrated with his home remaining dark, but he thought about what the situation would have been like for those with loved ones who had nowhere else to go.
“We felt left behind because after spending so many days on it with no indication of when it was going to be restored, we went well beyond worrying about perishables or pushing mold in the fridge,” he said.
“There comes a point where you pay rent on a house that’s uninhabitable and everyone else moves on, but you can’t.”
Despite the constant back-and-forth, Mr Miller said he couldn’t fault the customer service representatives who tried to help his cause.
Instead, he blamed the lack of information on the staff who deal with frontline customers.
“I’m sure they are working tirelessly to get people back on power both on the ground and in the offices but if that information isn’t shared with people who have been without power for over nine days then that is simply unacceptable.”
SA Power Networks has been contacted for comment.
Originally posted as “Left behind”: The councilman’s battle with the mighty giant