Endeavour Energy hit with class action over $200 mil Blue Mountains bushfire claim


New South Wales power company Endeavour Energy has become the subject of a class action by residents and business owners whose properties were burnt out by the devastating Blue Mountains bushfires in October 2013.

The class action was filed by Maddens Lawyers in the NSW Supreme Court over a claim that has been estimated will exceed $200 million in property loss and damage, with as many as 600 affected property owners.

The case is a major headache for the energy industry because it could sheet back the massive costs of damage and loss of life from fires to power infrastructure providers.

Maddens’ senior partner Brendan Pendergast said that the proceedings allege that the Springwood/Winmalee fire started when poorly-maintained trees fell on electrical conductors in Linksview Road, Springwood on the afternoon of October 17.

The resulting blaze inflicted significant devastation to properties across the Blue Mountains, including the destruction of 200 houses and severe damage to another 200 properties.

The impact of the fire didn’t end at just property destruction, local businesses continued to feel the heat in the following months, as the regular tourist trade avoided the blacked region and surrounding townships.

Mr Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim losses insurance policies did not cover.

“Quite simply, the residents of this area have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed,” Mr Pendergast said.

He said there is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did whilst incurring the substantial expense associated with re-establishing their properties.

“There is every reason for them to ask the question of what they are due, because it is what they deserve,” he said.

Maddens Lawyers is a firm with a history of successfully tackling cases involving some of Australia’s worst bushfire tragedies.

The firm managed to secure more than $50 million in compensation for hundreds of victims of the so-called ‘Black Saturday’ fires that burnt out communities across Victoria on 7th February, 2009.

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One thought on “Endeavour Energy hit with class action over $200 mil Blue Mountains bushfire claim

  1. Absolutely horrendous situation but I’d like to share my experience with dangerous tree growth. My old unit looked over a neighbour’s back yard and I watched with interest a tree grow quite high over a number of years until I noticed that power lines from his garage to the main house were becoming tangled in the branches. This elderly neighbour was well-known to our realtor as cantankerous and extremely uncooperative and dismissive to the point of assumptions of deafness each time I would greet him. (He wasn’t as I once encountered him briefly where I worked-turns out he was just rude). I was therefore a little reluctant to speak face to face with him so I alerted the electricity dept and they could do nothing as the tree as well as the power lines were on private property and they could not interfere. If the power lines connected to the house were via poles in the street and therefore on public property, they could intervene. I called the council but the same reason was used along with the fact that they could only intervene if a new structure was dangerous or something along those lines . I called the police and one affable chap said in the interests of public safety, he would drop by and chat to the gentleman if he had time. Our realtor was completely uninterested despite the possible danger to our property due to the tree’s proximity. Nothing was done and the tree grew. I managed to alert his gardener one morning by calling over the fence and concerned, he said he would tell the gentleman immediately. Still nothing. Months later, I spoke with the gardener again and he said the resident was aware and had asked him to trim the tree but the gardener said he couldn’t do it as it required specialised equipment. I don’t think money was an issue as the house in the eastern suburbs, was recently repainted. To date, the tree is still growing and the last I saw before we moved was that the power lines were quite tautly stretched between two branches. It was interesting, particularly during a southerly gale.

    I wish the best possible outcome for these people but I’m not sure with our current privacy laws if the electricity dept is wholly to blame. The onus is on responsible behaviour from all parties concerned including those who make the rules in government. However, it appears in my situation at least, that the owner was and is mainly responsible and the only one who could take appropriate steps for trimming the tree. What would be needed are rules that protect the public as well as the individual from their stupidity and that is a privacy/civil rights minefield.

    The idea of being careful “just in case” is an oldie but a goodie. It usually is regarded as an alarmist attitude in our current climate however and usually well outside the means of budgetary restrictions. Budgets, in my experience, don’t allow for possibilities, just tangibles. Public safety appears to be a gamble. Since there have been no problems in the past, best leave it to the next year’s budget, the next tenant, the next owner, the next government, the next management or until someone gets hurt. Only then, strangely enough, does it become important.

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