APA and Jemena are working closely with State and Local organisations in preparing for the restoration of gas supply as soon as possible in the Lithgow and Wallerawang area.

APA are working to restore the main gas supply to the area and are planning for the installation of a 42-tonne gas storage tank in Wallerawang which is being delivered from Victoria early this week.

This gas tank will allow ongoing trucked deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be received and converted to natural gas in the tank before being distributed into the Jemena reticulation network to supply Lithgow, Wallerawang and Oberon with a temporary supply of gas.  LNG delivery trucks are expected to arrive in the area from Friday, 11 November 2022 (or shortly thereafter).

A parallel operation of making safe gas connections is currently taking place in the Lithgow area, and will be ongoing today (Monday, 7 November 2022), along with expanding the make safe program to the Wallerawang. This will continue until all connections have been turned off (expected to be by Wednesday, 9 November 2022).

Over 40 volunteers from the NSW Rural Fire Service are assisting a number of Jemena employees from out of the area to perform the make safe operations. Customers are requested not touch their gas meters once they have been flagged as being made safe to ensure the integrity of the gas network as well as the safety of all personnel working on the network. Hopefully, with the large number of teams involved and community co-operation, the make safe process will be fully completed by mid-week.

Once the reticulation network has been charged from the storage tank and the make safe process has been completed, Jemena will be able to quickly perform the purge burning process.

Once the areas have been purged sector by sector, connections will be restored by trained Jemena technicians, and household connection relit safely. This process takes a little longer to complete than the previous steps in the process, but does allow progressive reconnections along the network, with reticulation being supplied to critical community assets and vulnerable community areas as a high priority.

Whilst it is preferable for customers to be home to allow Jemena to perform the customer relighting, a card with contact details will be provided for customers to contact Jemena with for a suitable time to be revisited for this process to be completed.

Council’s Mayor Maree Statham said “While unfortunate, Lithgow Council staff are becoming seasoned first responders in the event of local emergencies. I am very proud of all that is being delivered, including our morning and night attendance at regional emergency management meetings, and assisting the community with enquiries regarding assistance options that are available during this challenging time.”

“Council is committed to assisting the community get through this together, including providing showers for the community until all connections have been restored over the coming weeks”.

“The amazing collaboration between emergency service agencies and Council’s in neighboring Local Government Areas has resulted in an innovative solution to a very extreme situation expedited from initial indications of over a seven-week outage down to a disruption of possible three weeks. We hope that this plan achieves the expected outcome.” added Mayor Statham.

Any community members who are unable to or are struggling to make arrangements for urgent aid, firstly through families and friends, are urged to contact the Services NSW hotline number 13 77 88 who will be able to provide any necessary assistance.