A church community is fuming after a fluctuation in power left the Hope Valley Church at Cessnock with a broken air conditioner in the lead-up to summer.
Senior Pastor Luke Main is appealing to energy provider Ausgrid to come to the table with enough compensation to restore cool air flow in the church’s main congregation area, with temperatures tipped to reach 37 degrees on Friday.
But the church believes it will take more than double the amount Ausgrid has offered to solve the problem.
Ausgrid offered the church $4600 following a “thorough assessment”, after a power fluctuation broke the air conditioner in August while work was taking place on a power pole outside the church. Pastor Main said quotes to repair or replace the old unit were about $10,000.
“We do not understand how Ausgrid expect the church to make good the $10,000 worth of damage caused by Ausgrid with $4000. Therefore the offer has not been accepted,” he said.
“This reckless approach by Ausgrid has taken volunteer hours away from our core purpose of helping serve our community.
“We are a not for profit organisation and our premises are used as a daily refuge and safe place to approximately 200 local community members weekly. We meet immediate needs, provide referrals, feed hungry people and have chaplains on site for 50-plus hours a week.
“I have been very patient through this ordeal and notwithstanding the very poor treatment of a not for profit charity by a major national company. I am again requesting that Ausgrid pay the compensation that is owing to my church to repair the air conditioning unit as per the quote obtained.”
An Ausgrid spokesperson said it had enlisted an independent loss assessor to confirm that the $4600 compensation offer was fair, given the air conditioner was about 25 years old and could not be repaired.
“Ausgrid is aware of how frustrating this situation has been for Pastor Main and his congregation and we contacted him in relation to his request for compensation,” the spokesperson said.