As gas supply is slowly restored to 9,000 Mount Gambier properties, businesses and aged care facilities are considering compensation claims.
- Gas supply will be restored to all 9,000 properties by tonight after it was unexpectedly cut last Wednesday
- Mount Gambier businesses are seeking compensation for losses caused by the outage
- One local aged care provider says it is $5,000 out of pocket due to the gas outage
South Aussie Hotel trade was down 70 per cent over the weekend after its gas was unexpectedly cut on Wednesday night.
Manager Brianna Bytheway said the hotel opened on Thursday night with a limited menu.
“We had a total of 25 that were booked into Saturday night and they just cancelled purely on what we could do on our menu.”
She said the business was considering compensation options and had made a list of its wastage.
“Obviously a lot of things that are defrosted, a lot of seafood, that we just had to throw out,” Ms Bytheway said.
“You order all these schnitzels — and we don’t freeze our schnitzels — so they weren’t used and it’s just going to waste.”
Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce was encouraging affected businesses to apply for compensation.
Chamber president Hayley Neumann said it was a rough time for local businesses.
“They would have proof what they’ve missed out on, what their potential sales could have been for the weekend, but [compensation] definitely could be an avenue that they go down.
“So if [businesses] can seek compensation, I’d say go for it. That’s what it’s there for and hopefully it means that the business can keep trading in the future.”
Aged care affected, too
Mount Gambier aged care facility Boandik was also impacted by the gas outage.
Chief executive Gillian McGinty said the facility’s gas was reconnected on Saturday night.
“The major impact was on the residents because all our hot water is gas,” she said.
“We were having to have washers and bed baths rather than shower or a bath so they were the ones that were most heavily affected.”
The facility purchased extra cooking and clothes drying equipment due to the gas outage.
Ms McGinty estimated the facility was about $5,000 out of pocket for the extra expenses.
“We’re just assessing the costs and what it has cost us over the past few days, to determine whether we will lodge a compensation claim.
“It’s something we will look at, it will depend on the cost of lodging the claim against the benefit of what we will achieve out of it.”
‘They wouldn’t remember there’s no hot water’
Ms McGinty said the outage occurred when the facility was already dealing with the additional costs associated with COVID-19 requirements.
“We have additional costs every day with the personal protective equipment that we’re required to wear,” she said.
“And [with] the additional monitoring of visitors, and everything that’s happening, it’s just something else adding to a quite challenging year.”
Ms McGinty said the most severe impact of the outage was on the residents’ normal routines.
“People focus around having a shower in the morning and going out to breakfast, so particularly for people with dementia or with some memory loss, they wouldn’t remember there’s no hot water,” she said.
“Like everyone, we all like to have a shower and to just feel clean, so they’ve certainly been impacted by that.
“That’s been our major concern in keeping them well and being able to keep their personal care up as much as possible.”
All connected by tonight
Gas provider APA confirmed that all 9,000 would be reconnected by tonight.
Operations manager Robin Grey said emergency crews had worked quickly over recent days to visit each property.
“We know that there are people relighting [appliances] themselves, and that’s a message that we do want to get out: people can relight themselves as long as they have been left a relight card,” he said.
“Then they’ll then be ticked off the list to say that we’ve visited their properties.”