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Disaster relief for Victoria’s wild storms

Disaster relief is on the way to help Victorian councils clean up and support residents still without power after damaging storms battered the state last month.

More than half a million homes lost power during the storms on October 29, with about 110,000 still cut off the following day.

Downed lines and severe damage prompted warnings from energy market operator AEMO that some homes could remain without power for several days.

On Friday, the state’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said about 1500 customers were still without power heading into the weekend, with Ausnet and United Energy to begin contacting them to apply for a generator.

Both suppliers have established dedicated claims processing for customers affected by the storms.

More than 200 generators capable of providing eight kilowatts of power are being distributed.

The federal government has also made assistance available for 26 LGAs and individuals through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Ms D’Ambrosio said residents whose power was still out on Friday morning were eligible for $1680 for each week they remain cut off, up to three weeks.

Federal Emergency Management, National Recovery and Resilience Minister Bridget McKenzie said the payments will support “families that remain without power to buy necessities, source other forms of fuel or power, or find alternative accommodation”.

Support is also being given to local councils to clean up debris and restore roads, Victoria’s Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes said.

State opposition emergency services spokesman Brad Battin said he was “disappointed” by the “delayed response” to the power outages.

The generators being made available now are “too little too late”, Mr Battin said.

“Where were those generators when people have had no power for eight days so far?” he asked.

He said the generators, bought in response to another storm in June, had “sat idly in a warehouse” rather than going to families that needed them.

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