IT COULD be one of the hottest summers on record, and it is also likely to be one of the most expensive.
It will be a summer to remember in more ways than one.
With Tamworth and many other centres recording their hottest maximum temperature on record during the heatwave, it is not only the heat that is causing the discomfort.
Residents are being punished twice.
If the hot days and the uncomfortable nights are not enough to contend with, then there is the additional heat being applied by power bills as airconditioning units work overtime.
The heat is bad enough, but the heat and the high cost of electricity is unpalatable.
Ferocious storms, which have struck the region more than once during the past five weeks, also highlight the unrelenting fury of Mother Nature and our vulnerability when essential services come under attack by the elements.
The loss of power poles to fires and the resulting interruptions to power supplies, plus other problems caused to electricity infrastructure by storms, add to the summer dilemmas.
The Howard government supposedly looked at undertaking a major infrastructure project while in office that involved placing the power supply underground, where it can’t be damaged. The cost apparently frightened the government and nothing further was done.
But with more severe weather events predicted, including intense bushfires and more frequent savage storms, perhaps it is time to revisit the proposal.
The English undertook a similar project. While the two countries are vastly different in size and terrain, some long-term thinking needs to be applied.
The current government is spending billions on the high-speed National Broadband Network, which will connect to almost every home. It can’t run without power, nor can business and industry.
Securing the power supply, regardless of how it is generated, is critical in a changing hostile environment.