Story updated 5 July 2022
A major blackout left more than 3,000 Manly properties without power today, 26 June, and forced the closure of popular venue Manly Skiff Club on one of its busier days of trade. But other local businesses managed to escape unscathed, for now.
Manly Observer Editor Kim Smee first received a notification from Ausgrid that the power was out in Manly at 7am; a second text announcing it was restored was sent just after 8pm this evening.
(Updated 5 July) Manly Observer was advised by reliable sources that the outage was a result of flooding at the substation at North Head, which may have occurred during planned maintenance the previous night. Both Ausgrid and Sydney Water however denied it related to planned maintenance. They also said that power had been fully restored and emergency generators were not brought online.
“An underground fault, not related to any planned maintenance, was to blame for the recent power outage in Manly,” an Ausgrid spokesperson said.
“No temporary generators are being used to supplement power, with the power fully restored Sunday following repairs.
A Sydney Water spokesperson confirmed to Manly Observer that the “incident was not in relation to any Sydney Water assets.”
According to Ausgrid’s website, three ‘unplanned outages’ affecting ‘3803 sites’ were in effect in Manly during the time of the outage.
Several streets around Osborne Rd were disconnected from the grid and Manly 16ft Skiff Club was among a few restaurants in the mainly residential area south of Manly Cove that were forced to close and send staff home.
However, the areas reported to be affected by Ausgrid seemed inaccurate with many businesses in the zone not experiencing any outages.
When Manly Observer visited affected outage areas today many traders were completely unaware they were in the zone due to be disconnected from the central grid and met the demands of a high influx of tourists on an unusually warm mid-winter’s day.
According to Ausgrid’s website, three ‘unplanned outages’ affecting ‘3803 sites’ were in effect in Manly today.
This affected zone, marked with an ominous red cloud, stretched from Shelly Beach in the east to Smedleys Point, Little Manly, in the west, and north around Manly Cove along East Esplanade and into Belgrave St/Whistler St/Sydney Rd.
These ‘unplanned’ power cuts were in addition to ‘18 planned outages’ across the whole of NSW.
Ausgrid further stated that they were investigating problems in Manly area from 04.15 am, and households and businesses for whom electricity was disconnected were expected to be reconnected at 3.30pm, which was later altered to 8pm.
Manly Observer visited traders inside the ‘red zone’ around Manly Cove that Ausgrid warned would likely be without power, including on Manly Wharf itself, and asked if any experienced electricity cut-outs.
Charlotte, assistant at Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour at 53 East Esplanade said, “We’ve not experienced any problems.” Managers of restaurants Guzman Y Gomez and Betty’s Burgers, respectively, at the entrance to Manly Wharf, also confirmed they’d not been affected by any outages of power since they opened in the morning.
“We heard that electricity might be stopped,” the shift manager at Guzman Y Gomez revealed at 3pm, “but nothing so far!”
John, a receptionist at Sebel Hotel on South Steyne, confirmed that they too hadn’t experienced any outages. “We’d certainly know it if we had!” he joked. The hotel has 83 rooms, two swimming pools, a spa, restaurant and bar.
Tim, a manager at 4Pines Brew Pub at 43-45 East Esplanade told Manly Observer, “We heard via Facebook and social media of possible outages today, but we’ve not experienced any. I live nearby in units that were supposed to have their power cut but they weren’t affected either.”
“I hope the electricity doesn’t get disconnected during the State of Origin rugby match tonight. We’re screening it in the downstairs bar. Can you imagine if, say 10 minutes into the game, the power cut out and everything went dark? There’d be a riot!”
A 4Pines team member added, “I hope the electricity doesn’t get disconnected during the State of Origin rugby match tonight. We’re screening it in the downstairs bar. Can you imagine if, say 10 minutes into the game, the power cut out and everything went dark? There’d be a riot!”
However, several streets around Osborne Rd were disconnected from the grid and endured a day without electricity. One resident in the affected zone commented on the Manly Observer Facebook page, “Seriously how can we get ready for tomorrow? Can’t get food shopping done, can’t buy stuff for school lunchbox, can’t charge phones. I think we will be owed some sort of compensation!”
Manly 16ft Skiff Club was among a few restaurants in the mainly residential area south of Manly Cove that were forced to close and send staff home.
Matt Hazell, Secretary Manager of the Skiff Club, told Manly Observer, “Yes, our power has been off all day since 6am this morning and is still off. We have been busy cancelling bookings all day and at 4 o’clock made the tough call to close for the rest of the day. Disappointing. With the beautiful weather we were expecting a busy day. Not the first time we seem to have been forgotten, unfortunately.”
Ausgrid’s phone line diverted to answerphone when we called, and the Contact Page on their website provided forms to notify of power outages, but no explanation as to why parts of Manly town centre were rendered without power.
We will update the story as information becomes available.