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MEDIA RELEASE - Telstra outages in remote communities affecting power meters

15 February 2024

An unplanned Telstra 3G service interruption in the remote community of Maningrida is causing great angst amongst residents who are receiving exorbitant power bills as a result of the technical fault.

The 3G outage, which commenced on 22 January 2024, has created a technical issue to individual resident’s prepaid Power and Water power meters and in particular, the disconnection feature of power when customers reach their debt level.

Without the disconnection feature, the power meter continues to tick over even when the debt level is reached.

To avoid incurring a debt, customers need to add regular credits to their prepaid power meters, however this interim resolution was not communicated across the community, and many residents have been unknowingly racking up huge power bills since 22 January 2024.


In a statement published on the Power and Water website:


The 3G outage is affecting Power and Water power meters in the community, in particular the disconnection feature of power when customers reach their debt level.

It is critical that customers continue to add regular credit to their prepaid power meter to avoid incurring a debt.

It is important to note that any payments made during this current outage will not show on the meter balance and will only be visible once the 3G service is restored.

Power and Water is working with Telstra to resolve network interruption as a high priority.


With the Telstra outage continuing to impact local residents and with no estimated time for resolution, West Arnhem Regional Council Mayor Matthew Ryan is calling on Telstra and Power and Water to clear the debts incurred on Maningrida customers or compensate them.

Mayor Ryan said this issue was flagged with the relevant departments over two weeks ago and it still remains unresolved.

“Our residents have been left with debts inherited from Power and Water caused by this Telstra issue in many communities,” he said.

“This should not happen. These companies need to be accountable, take responsibility and deliver better services for people in remote communities. Clear the debt or compensate them (the customers).”

Mayor Ryan has been a strong advocate for improved telecommunication services in remote disadvantaged communities for many years.




Contact: West Arnhem Regional Council Mayor Matthew Ryan, 0408 959 897