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Homes lost in Victorian bushfires as blackouts continue

Dozens of homes have been destroyed by bushfires in Victoria, as hundreds of thousands of residents spent a second night without power after destructive storms wreaked havoc on the energy grid.

Bushfires prompted a roadblock on the Western Highway approaching Horsham in Victoria. Photo: AAP

Bushfires prompted a roadblock on the Western Highway approaching Horsham in Victoria. Photo: AAP

About 125,000 homes and businesses remained disconnected from electricity networks, down from a peak of 530,000 following damage from storms, strong winds and lightning.

Crews have been working through the night to clear debris and repair damaged powerlines to try to reconnect the properties in the state’s east.

But given the extent of the damage, it could take days or more than a week to restore electricity to those impacted, the Australian Energy Market Operator said.

A dairy farmer was killed after being struck by debris while herding cows on a quad bike in Darlimurla in South Gippsland on Tuesday evening.

Five regional hospitals could remain on generator power for at least three days as authorities rush to prioritise fuel and restore energy to those sites.

Almost 500 phone towers and 450 NBN sites were down on Wednesday, leaving a quarter of a million customers without internet access.

Storm damage that collapsed transmission lines caused the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley to shut down along with several wind farms, which led to the outages.

It was also confirmed on Thursday that dozens of homes were destroyed after bushfires raged through a national park in Victoria’s west on the day the storms hit.

The State Control Centre confirmed 24 houses were lost at Pomonal and one at Dadswells Bridge in the Grampians National Park, although damage assessments are continuing.

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Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman, who was forced to flee his Pomonal property on Tuesday afternoon, estimated the losses equated to about 40 per cent of all homes in his small town.

“When you start counting how many homes are in that small Pomonal pocket, not considering the outer regions, it’s a pretty big impact,” Sleeman said.

“It was just that change of wind that swept around and took hold.

“To have 27 to 30 homes destroyed in one fire in a small community like Pomonal is just a shocking thing to happen.”

– with AAP

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