Robinson family left out in the cold during power outage

A terminally ill 92-year-old veteran, Roy Robinson relies on 24-hour oxygen in order to survive. 

Suffering from asbestos of the lung, the family was left out in the cold when their power was cut off on Monday. 

Five people were required to relocate Roy for the exhausting, stressful ordeal, with fears of his suffocation in the back of their minds. 

Mrs Robinson contacted Essential Energy to air her concerns after she received notice of the planned outage and was unsatisfied by the response. 

“The lady told me to get myself a generator,” Mrs Robinson said. 

“I was a bit upset , I told her I was nearly 80 years old and I didn’t even know how to work one. 

“It takes a lot of time, stress and organisation to make arrangements for this sort of thing.” 

Without his 20-kilogram oxygen tank, Roy would struggle to breathe and eventually suffocate. 

A process filled with endless risk, suffocation was just one of many concerns left on his wife’s mind. 

Any sort of smoke or naked flame could cause the oxygen to burn Roy’s nose and throat. 

“The patient is the one who suffers if something goes wrong,” Mrs Robinson said. 

“Any movement tires him out, just moving wheelchairs can be difficult enough.” 

A physio therapist, an oxygen specialist and three family members were needed to get Roy through the exhausting ordeal. 

While Roy was able to move to his son’s house for the day, Mrs Robinson said she held concerns for other elderly people who may not have anywhere to go.

“It’s a community issue and we don’t want this to happen again,” Mrs Robinson said. 

“If we didn’t have someone else I don’t know what we would’ve done.” 

Essential Energy’s Acting Regional Manager Southern, Mark Summers said the power outage affected 41 premises in Beckwith Street.

“Electricity network maintenance and upgrade work is planned in advance to try and minimise the impact on local residents and businesses, however, regular maintenance and upgrades are necessary,” Mr Summers said. 

“Today’s planned power outage was required to provide an electrical contractor with safe access to the local electricity network to carry out upgrade works.”

Mr Summers said Essential Energy provides customers on life support equipment with at least four days notice. On this occasion, letters were posted to customers on August 25. 

“We endeavour to contact customers using life support equipment by phone prior to the planned outage to confirm they received the notification,” he said.