Australia Weather News

Businesses were forced to close due to the blackouts. - ABC

South Australia's electricity distributor will make compensation payments totalling $20 million to about 75,000 customers who experienced lengthy blackouts following a wild storm on December 28.

About 155,000 properties were blacked out as wild winds, in some areas above 120 kilometres per hour, toppled trees and powerlines.

Some homes and businesses in the Adelaide Hills were not reconnected until the new year.

SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts said it was one of the worst storms the company had experienced in 30 years.

"It was probably about three times worse than any previous storm we've experienced, both in terms of the guaranteed service level payments we'll have to make, and the minutes of supply lost for customers," he said.

"We're going to be making payments ... to about half the customers affected."

Power customers can expect to receive $100 for a 12-hour blackout, reaching $605 for a blackout 48 hours or longer.

The length of a blackout excludes time where SA Power Networks crews were unable to start repairs.

"For example, we were unable to undertake restoration work in the Adelaide Hills for many hours as wind gusts reached up to 120kph and the winds did not abate until around 9:00am," Mr Roberts said.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the Government would ask the Essential Services Commission to remove the 48-hour cap.

ABC