A Becks man says Aurora Energy only responded to his pleas after he threatened to contact the media.

Power lines fell on the property of James Armstrong, a sheep and cattle farmer and member of the Vincent Community Board, on February 25 after strong winds, cutting power to his workshop and woolshed.

The lines were eventually fixed earlier this month but he was unhappy with the lack of communication from Aurora over the six-and-a-half-week period without power.
A day later, Aurora contractors came to check if the line was live — it was not.

After a few days, representatives from Aurora and Delta met Mr Armstrong on site and said they would pay for some of the work to fix the transformer and the submains, but Mr Armstrong would need to pay for the rest.


Aurora decided all new power lines had to be underground because of the state of the poles.

Electricians, chosen by Mr Armstrong, measured up the length of the cable for the job and informed Aurora of the cost.

The electrician rang Aurora and was told the job could go ahead but Aurora was not paying for any part of it.

Mr Armstrong contacted Aurora to discuss why the agreement had been changed.

He rang Aurora for three days straight — March 7, 8, and 9 and had to leave an answerphone message every time.

The lines that fell on James Armstrong's property were connected to this power pole, owned by Aurora. Photo / Supplied
The lines that fell on James Armstrong's property were connected to this power pole, owned by Aurora. Photo / Supplied

Finally on the afternoon of Friday, March 9, an Aurora representative called him back, saying they were too busy but would look into his case on Monday, March 12.

After no response he phoned again, and left a message saying if he did not hear from anyone he would call the press.

"Within five minutes, Delta rang me to say the job was approved and Aurora would pay for their portion, as agreed."


By April 5, the electrician had completed work and was ready for Delta to connect the power.

Mr Armstrong was informed by the electrician that it would be two to three weeks before power could be restored.

On April 8, Mr Armstrong contacted Aurora directly and was referred to someone after staying on the phone for an hour.

On April 11, Delta linesmen came on site to restore power, taking about two hours to complete the job.

Before the power went out, Mr Armstrong had arranged to crutch his sheep.

Without power in the woolshed, his sheep became fly-struck and he was worried about the health of his stock so had used a generator to crutch them.

Mr Armstrong was happy with the work that had been done but his concern was with the delays.

He also thought someone needed to talk to farmers about power poles and lines on their properties.

"Someone should take leadership and talk to farmers about their poles."

Aurora Energy did not answer questions yesterday about whether it was looking into a rural programme.

A spokesman confirmed a tree broke a service main on the property on February 25 and Aurora's contractor attended to make it safe the next day.