Next Flooding May Lead to Blackouts in Milton Due to Energex Substation Location

Power might be down for days again in Milton if another massive flooding incident occurs, due to what some quarters believe to be the undesirable location of the Energex substation.

During the February floods, Milton residents and businesses had to face days without power because the Milton Energex substation had to shut down as water and mud crept through the facility.

The construction of the substation was part of the preparations made for the Rugby World Cup in 2003. Greens MP Michael Berkman believes, however, that the substation should have never been built on a flood-prone site. 

He relayed that the substation’s location came about after the State Government bought the land owned by Energex as part of the Suncorp redevelopment. In exchange, Energex was offered an alternative site, “on significantly lower land, which Energex warned would probably flood, as it sits below Q100 flood levels,” Mr Berkman said.  

“Energex didn’t want to sell the original site to the State Government, so the government compulsorily resumed it as part of the Suncorp Stadium Redevelopment. They then built the substation on the alternative, flood-prone site using Ministerial Infrastructure Designation powers.”  

As a result of this decision, the substation has apparently caused problems every time a flooding event occurs. After the 2011 flooding, the substation had to undergo repairs worth $750,000. 

Milton Energex
Photo Credit: Energex/Twitter

“The Government should provide assurance to west side locals that their safety will be prioritised going forward, including a commitment that future substations will be built above Q100 flood levels,” Mr Berkman added.

However, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said flood barrier upgrades were done to the Milton substation after 2011, which protected the facility from significant damage during the February floods. The substation was immediately switched off for the safety of the locals, which also ensured that power could be restored as soon as possible. 

Despite this, Energex took days to restore services as over 1,000 flood-affected properties for more than 180,000 customers across Brisbane have been impacted. The restoration was further delayed as ongoing rain and high winds prevented crew members from working safely.