Tropical Fruit Train owner Bob Jenkyns.
Tropical Fruit Train owner Bob Jenkyns.

Six month wait for power at new fruit market

A FAR Northern fruit supplier is furious that it will take six months for power to be connected to his new business.

Bob Jenkyns, owner of the soon-to-be-opened Tropical Fruit Train market at 50 Moresby Rd, Moresby, south of Innisfail, said he was worried he would have to run the shop on a diesel generator.

Mr Jenkyns said he found out a week ago that it would take 23 weeks for his new business connection application with Ergon Energy to go through.

"The building's finished, the wiring's set up, but they want six months to put in one new pole and a transformer," he said.

"We were planning to open when the licensing paperwork goes through in about one month. Now we'll have to run on generator power.

"If I'd known it would take this long, I'd have started organising it last July, but nobody's aware, nobody told us."

The frame for the new Tropical Fruit Train marketplace at Moresby. Bob Jenkyns planned to have it all up and running by March 2019.
The frame for the new Tropical Fruit Train marketplace at Moresby. Bob Jenkyns planned to have it all up and running by March 2019.

Mr Jenkyns and his family built the Tropical Fruit Train to replace their previous business, the Innisfail Frog on Banana, which was ruined by flood damage in March last year.

According to Mr Jenkyns, the business will be able to run with just the bare essentials, a cold room and an airconditioning system on generator power at a rate of $100 per day, or $3000 a month on average.

"It took us three months just trying to submit the application to get to where we are now," he said.

"The website didn't recognise our Moresby address when we first applied, our electrician was trying to get a hold of them for that.

"We had to pay the application fee upfront, it took three to four weeks for them to calculate the quote, it took 16 days to get someone down from Atherton to give us the rundown after they said it would only take a week, and finally it took 10 days to hear back from them, which is when we learned about the 23-week wait.

"It never used to be this way, we're being screwed by the monopoly they've got."

An Ergon Energy spokeswoman said, while they could not comment on individual cases, they would work to address customer issues.

"Ergon's priority is to connect customers as soon as practically possible and we will work with them to fast-track construction whenever possible," she said.

"Time frames depend on a range of factors, including the type and complexity of the connection, geographical location and whether alterations to Ergon's network are required.

"Network alterations may require multiple site visits, careful design of physical and electrical solutions, third party approvals, transport of equipment and materials, as well as community notification of any outages required before construction even begins."