Printers buffeted in SA-wide blackout

Printers in South Australia say it is business as usual today following last night’s once-in-50-years storm event which plunged the entire state into darkness.

Customer service manager Eric Howard from Prospect’s Terry Howe Printing Services says power went out at the shop around 3:30pm yesterday.

“Everyone was waiting for the power to come back on, but after half an hour of no power we decided to close the shop. It was pointless to stand around in a dark building,” Howard tells Australian Printer.

“There was no digital printing for that last hour and a half yesterday. We have rebooted this morning and none of the machines are damaged, I also took a look at the building this morning which had no damage either, which is a good thing.

“An hour and a half of lost production is not good but only four of my staff were affected by this. It is not going to put us behind the eight ball at all.”

Howard says power has now been restored the area and the business is open and fully functional today.

He adds, “Everyone took a lot longer to get home last night due to all the traffic lights in South Australia not working. But all the staff made it safely home and are back to work this morning.”

One of the biggest book printers in Australia, Adelaide’s Griffin Press which just installed a multi-million dollar high speed digital book printing line, also saw its presses grind to a halt. 

General manager Ben Jolly says the company is now working to catch up on yesterday’s lost production time.   

“We cannot print books if we do not have power,” Jolly says. “It has been a weather event out of our control, but we just have to get on with it and sort it out.”  

Kwik Kopy Unley owner Rob Merrylees says he was lucky his business did not receive any damage. 

“The power went out at 4pm and we usually shut at 5pm so it was not disastrous for us, it was more inconvenient,” he says.  

“We went around and turned the machines off before we left so when we came back this morning and rebooted everything was working fine.”

SA premier Jay Weatherill says yesterday’s storm event damaged power infrastructure near Port Augusta, causing South Australia’s entire power network to shut down “to protect itself”.

The entire state and its 1.67 million residents were affected by the blackout, with traffic lights not working and hospital workers forced to look after patients using flash lights. 

Although power has returned to most areas of the state this morning, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warns more wild weather is on the way.

An intense low-pressure system is expected to cross the state today, bringing gale-force winds reaching speeds of up to 75 kilometres per hour.

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