CANBERRA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- South Australia Power Networks said Thursday that it would pay more than 15 million U.S. dollars in compensation to customers who were subject to unnecessary lengthy blackouts late last year.
More than 70,000 customers are expected to be given the payment.
It was reported that more than 150,000 properties in South Australia were left without power on Dec. 28 after a vicious storm cell felled power lines and trees. It was the second major blackout to hit the state in three months.
According to local reports, some home were not fully reconnected with power until the new year, with South Australia Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts describing the storm and its trail of destruction as the worst the company had experienced in 30 years.
"It was probably about three times worse than any previous storm we've experienced, both in terms of the guaranteed service level payments we'll have to make, and the minutes of supply lost for customers," Roberts told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
"We're going to be making payments to about half the customers affected."
He said that households which were without power for up to 12 hours could expect payment of 75 U.S. dollars, while those affected for more than 48 hours would receive up to 450 U.S. dollars for the inconvenience and cost of replacing perishable foods and other items.
He said the delay in fixing the issue was a result of poor weather following the storm, and was not a reflection of inadequate manpower or management.
"For example, we were unable to undertake restoration work in the Adelaide Hills for many hours as wind gusts reached up to 120 km per hour and the winds did not abate until around 9 a.m. the next morning," Roberts said.