Ergon is appealing to customers to treat its staff with respect, after hundreds of incidents of verbal and physical abuse.
There have been 302 reports of verbal or physical abuse against crews across Queensland since 2019, including 21 in the Mackay region.
Energex Executive General Manager Paul Jordon says there are 783 identified sites where crews are unable to attend without a police escort, because of previous behaviour or threats.
“It is completely unacceptable that people who are just doing their job have been threatened with weapons, assaulted, spat at, had vicious dogs released on them or been verbally abused by members of the community. There is no excuse for abuse,” he says.
“Our crews strive to keep their communities safe during storms, floods, fires, vehicle accidents and business as usual when they are maintaining and upgrading the network.
“It’s not much to ask for some common courtesy from customers instead of being yelled at or having things thrown at you from passing vehicles when you are doing high-risk work.”
Energex Executive General Manager Customer Michael Dart says call centre staff have also copped abuse.
“We have a dedicated team who answer the phones 24/7 and provide lifesaving advice to customers when there are serious electrical faults, like fallen powerlines or shocks and tingles,” he says.
“While most people are courteous and reasonable, some of the callers they encounter are incredibly threatening and downright abusive.
“We understand that people can get stressed and frustrated at times, and we are always willing to listen to their concerns and complaints, but there is no excuse for abuse.”