QEO left in the dark

A POWER failure on an Eaglehawk electricity feeder line caused the blackout at the Queen Elizabeth Oval during the last quarter of Friday night's NAB Challenge match.The AFL practice match, between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, was abandoned 13 minutes into the final quarter when the $750,000 QEO lights went off with the Bulldogs ahead 14.9 (93) to 9.9 (63).As well as bringing an early end to the AFL game, the power failure, just after 9pm, affected 263 customers in Eaglehawk."The actual customers affected were in a different area away from the football," Powercor spokesman Damien Batey said yesterday."However, what was experienced in the broader Bendigo region was a lot of people would have seen their voltage dip for a period of a few seconds."What our system does is realise a fault is isolated and only affecting 263 customers in Eaglehawk, and then the system turns itself back on."With the football lights at the QEO, I'm told they are fairly sensitive and need about 10 minutes to heat up again."So just a dip across the system would have been enough to basically trip the lights out and cause them to go off for 10 or 15 minutes."It was very regrettable with such high-profile AFL teams coming to Bendigo."Friday night's game was run by Central Victorian Football and was the third AFL practice match played under lights at the QEO.The lights were installed in 2004 and Friday night was the first time they have gone out during a sporting event."It was a very disappointing way for it to end, but we certainly had no control over it," Central Victorian Football chief executive officer Steven Oliver said."Up until that point in time things had run really well and another 10 minutes would have been super, but it wasn't to be."Asked if Friday night's incident would affect the QEO's future chances of hosting AFL games under lights, Oliver said: "I spoke to Rod Austin from the AFL who was there just after it happened and he basically said `you can't do anything about it, if someone had gone and flicked the switch, that would have been a different story'."I will be asking the council about back-ups and things like that, but the reality is it was a power surge, it has happened and we just have to get on with it."

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