Thieves seize outage opportunity

Dominique BayensMidwest Times
File picture.
Camera IconFile picture. Credit: The West Australian

A Mullewa business manager has expressed his frustration after his deli was broken into during a power outage lasting more than 24 hours last week.

Yarrumba Deli manager Vishnu Konduru said the store was without power from 4pm on January 30 until 9.30pm the next day.

Mr Konduru said the deli was broken into overnight but because of the outage, the store alarm was not working and CCTV was unable to record the perpetrators.

“We lost most of the lollies, chocolate and also they broke the smoke cabinet and got some smokes,” he said.

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Mr Konduru said the business had one back-up generator strong enough to power only two of the fridges leading to the loss of meat supplies and freezer products.

Mullewa La Croix Pharmacy also suffered, losing $2028 worth of medication.

Pharmacy owner Michel Ibrahim said he was frustrated by the number of recent power outages.

“We need to get our voice out there because having so many outages in a short period of time is very frustrating,” he said.

“We all understand that there are certain storms and weather events that can trigger a power outage, but it’s the length of time it takes to fix it up that causes a lot of frustration,” he said.

Mr Ibrahim said he was gathering funds to buy a new generator when the power outage occurred, leaving refrigerated medication unusable.

Being the only pharmacy in town, Mr Ibrahim said clients would have to travel to Geraldton for medication like insulin during power outages.

“If the patients can’t travel to Geraldton for any reason, they’ll have to go without at least until the next day,” he said.

“It can pose a health risk to the people living in Mullewa, especially the frail and elderly.”

WA Country Health Service Regional Director Marie Norris said emergency power generators in WA Country Health Service facilities weren’t able to supply power to all areas.

“The generator ensures power continues to maintain essential lighting and equipment,” she said.

“Staff employ a range of strategies when caring for older people during periods of hot weather.”

A Western Power spokeswoman said thunderstorms and heavy rain had created unsafe conditions making it difficult to estimate restoration times.

“Western Power understands that being without power is frustrating. Our priority remains keeping the community and our crews safe,” the spokesman said.

Mullewa police are investigating the deli break-in.

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