WODONGA was thrown into chaos yesterday when a power outage struck half the city.
Businesses closed, cafes gave away food and supermarkets went into meltdown as the mercury topped 35 degrees just after midday.
More than 7500 customers were left without power, the second major outage in less than 24 hours.
SP AusNet’s Lyall Johnson said it was not a systemic fault either time.
“It appears there has been a voltage disturbance, perhaps caused by a power surge as people turned on their airconditioners, and the system as a safety mechanism went into shutdown,” he said.
“Today it was a high voltage underground cable at the Wodonga zone substation and that is now being tested to determine the exact fault.
“A similar power surge on Sunday evening affected 1400 customers but it was not the same cable.”
Rob Groat at Ray White real estate in central Wodonga closed the doors when the office temperature went past 30 degrees about 1pm.
“We really had no choice, there were no phone lines, no computers and no airconditioning,” he said.
“We waited it out to see whether the power would come back but just couldn’t wait any longer.”
Shirley and Graeme Elliott, of Wangaratta, were eating a sandwich in a blacked out Centro plaza.
“We had to come up here for appointments and ducked in for something to eat,” Mrs Elliott said.
“The only thing we could really find was a sandwich and a couple of cold drinks.”
At the doughnut shop staff were working from a cash jar, the power outage locking their till.
Aldi supermarket on Melbourne Road was also closed due to the power breakdown.
Marie Booth, of East Wodonga, just hoped the power was still on when she got home.
She had three freezers full of food.
“I just came down town to go to Aldi but I guess I will have to come back,” she said.
Power was restored to all homes and businesses just after 2pm.
Wodonga Council chief executive Patience Harrington said some people were more vulnerable during heatwaves and power outages.
“Residents need to ensure they are checking on their older, sick or frail relatives and neighbours at least twice a day,” she said.
“This is particularly important during a power outage when it is difficult to get information through to these groups.”