Centrelink suffered a power outage to a datacentre in Canberra last Friday morning that crippled phone, web and face to face services nationwide, with staff at at least one Canberra branch being sent home without receiving the full picture about what had happened.
“Our call centres and online services have been most significantly affected by this outage,” confirmed Centrelink general manager, Hank Jongen in a statement issued on Friday. “So if customers need to speak with Centrelink urgently they should visit an office.”
Centrelink offices were kept open on Friday to handle basic enquiries and those customers who did not have an urgent matter to be addressed were urged to wait until this week before contacting Centrelink. “Customers have been inconvenienced by the length of the disruption, and for that we apologise,” Jongen said.
“We have put contingency plans in place, and want to reassure our customers that we are doing everything possible to ensure their payments will not be delayed as a result of today’s disruption to services. ”
The power outage to the datacentre and the 21 minute blackout in Tuggeranong Valley was caused by a fault at a substation — a responsibility of ACT’s power company ActewAGL — in Canberra suburb Wannisassa.
A Centrelink spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions: “We approached ActewAGL for some background on the power outage, and were told electricity to areas of the Tuggeranong Valley was interrupted for 21 minutes between 9.07am and 9.28am on Friday morning. This interruption was caused by a fault at the Wannisassa substation.”
An ActewAGL spokeswoman was contacted by Delimiter today who issued the above statement and said further information to the cause of the fault was yet to be received at the time of writing the article. Normal Centrelink services were expected to be back to normal for Western Australia yesterday and the rest the nation were expected to resume services today.