Sunday, May 25, 2008

Energy Australia

Energy Australia - where do we start?

Their substations are all over our suburbs.  Once you know what to look for, you start to see them everywhere - like mushrooms after rain.  Every second street seems to have one, and all of them seem to have graffiti on them.  Here is a small selection that I photographed on one afternoon in the space of less than an hour.  I don't have a map of where they are - I just meander around the place in my travels and spot them as I go.  If I can photograph this many by just wandering around, and find that all of them are vandalised, well I guess it just goes to show the scope of their problem.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that every one of these has a visible reference number on the outside.  If you scroll back up and look at the photos, you'll see a silver number in some of them, like K2501.

The other good news is that if you ring Energy Australia on 13 15 35 and report either the location or the reference number, they will fix the problem.  It might not be overnight, but they will do it.  They don't seem to be the sort of organisation that says, "Yeah, we'll fix that", and then bins your complaint.  They actually do something about it.

The one drawback is if you need to report multiple problems.  Their computer system only seems to be able to deal with one complaint at a time.  I got around that by doing this:


Mr George Maltabarow

Managing Director

Energy Australia
Level 22

570 George St

Sydney NSW 2000

2 February 2008

 Dr Mr Maltabarow

 Cleanup of graffiti on substations in the inner west

 I am writing in reference to the state of the Energy Australia substations in the Five Dock/Drummoyne/Concord area.  Most, if not all of your substations in the area have been heavily vandalised by graffiti. 

I reported one substation at the corner of Park Rd and Second Ave, Five Dock last month via 13 15 35.  It was quickly repainted, but as I explained when I made the call, all the substations in the area should be inspected and painted if necessary.  Apart from the substation mentioned above, I am yet to see one that is still in pristine condition. 

I’d appreciate it if you’d arrange for your crews to inspect and re-paint if necessary all the substations in our area. 

 Yours sincerely

Not somebody else's problem


I got a very nice response to that letter.  The interesting thing is that the day before the letter arrived, I spotted one of their crews already on the job painting a substation nearby.  

One small gripe that I do have is with the Energy Australia phone system.  You have to put up with punching in an awful lot of numbers before you get to speak to a real person.  But at least you do end up with a real person in the end, and those that I have dealt with have been very pleasant and helpful.

Energy Australia appear to be in the same boat as Telstra, and all the other utilities.  All their equipment is remotely monitored these days, so there is no longer a need to send a crew around on a regular basis to perform site inspections.  Their problem is that their remote sensors can only monitor the state of the equipment within the substation - load, temperature, voltage - that sort of thing.  They can't monitor the outside of the substation - that takes either a set of cameras mounted at sufficient distance to view each wall, or the good old Mark I eyeball.  Installing cameras would cost us taxpayers a bomb, so you are doing your wallet a favour by doing their external monitoring for free.  If you have a substation nearby and it is being vandalised, just remember that Energy Australia aren't going to magically find out about it.  

Don't rely on someone else to report it - if you have read this far, it proves that you are more interested and less lazy than 99.999% of the population.  It's up to you to report it.  Don't let it become somebody else's problem.

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