Rain may be soaking Victoria but the legacy of the state's hot spell continues, as politicians squabble over who is to blame for tens of thousands of households losing power.
Late on Monday some customers had gone almost 24 hours without power, including during Victoria’s hottest night this summer.
Almost 50,000 Victorian properties were blacked out at one time on Sunday as temperatures hit the high 30Cs in Melbourne, with energy distributors pointing to substation fuse faults amid record demand.
Premier Daniel Andrews has been eager to stress that the issue was with poles, wires and substations rather than a lack of supply.
“This was not a power supply issue, this was about distribution and localised faults,” Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.
“There was sufficient energy, more than sufficient energy, to supply the entirety of our state.”
That reasoning hasn’t kept the state opposition from the chiding the government for failing to keep the lights on, by ensuring the network can handle its population.
“It’s the minister for energy’s job to ensure the network is up to the capacity that is required,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy told reporters.
Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the incident was further evidence both sides of government haven’t properly managed Australia’s energy system.
“We’ve got to realise that the era of flogging off public utilities to the highest bidder and hoping that they’re going to deliver efficient reliable, cost effective services to consumers – that’s over,” he said, pointing to an upcoming Greens energy policy.
Just before 5pm on Monday, some 7000 Victorian properties were without power, including more than 4500 in distributor United Energy’s network, which a spokeswoman confirmed were linked to Sunday’s extreme weather.
Mr Andrews said the state government will look closely at network faults and what can be done to improve them, while indicating there is scope for compensation from energy companies.
“We’ll compel them if we have to, both to look at compensation and to look at improvements in that network,” he said.
The debate comes as heat makes way for storms in Melbourne, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning of heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms in Victoria’s central and western areas late on Monday, which will move east overnight.
Between 30mm and 50mm of rainfall is expected by 9.30pm, with up to 80mm in some areas.