3d Power Power Corporation has been ordered to pay a record $4.6 billion for its failure to stop the massive fire that destroyed a coal power plant in northern New South Wales, while a separate fire is also believed to be under investigation.
The NSW government has also ordered the construction of a new coal power station to replace the 3d facility.
The blaze that burned for more than six hours and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents in the small town of Beckord, near Sydney, killed four people and forced more than 800 homes to be evacuated.
A total of 4,300 people have been displaced.
The fire at the Beckords power plant near Sydney was the largest in NSW history.
The plant was being used to supply electricity to the city of Moreton Bay and was built in the 1970s.
The loss of power at the plant caused an estimated $1.3 billion in damages, according to the NSW Civil Defence Force.
The state government also ordered a $300 million restoration and reconstruction program, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion.
The Beckons power plant was also used to power a number of coal-fired power plants.
It was owned by the Australian Coal Corporation (ACC), which is a subsidiary of the Australian Energy Commission.
ACC is owned by Anglo-Australian Energy (AEC), which also owns the 3D power plant.
The ACC and AEC are the only three coal power producers in NSW.
ACC has not yet responded to requests for comment.
The 3D plant, which burns coal at a pressure of about 1,000 tonnes per hour, was built to supply power to a number or other areas in the Northern Territory, including the community of Yarrabah.
The community of Becks was one of the hardest hit.
“The community has been left without power for weeks,” said resident Peter Smith.
“We are still waiting to see if there will be any help from the Government.
We don’t want to live in a community that is destroyed, and that is our worst nightmare.”
Residents at Beckones power station say they have been told there are plans to build a new power station at the site, but this is not expected to be ready until next year.
Mr Smith said there were concerns about the safety of the residents living in the area.
“If this is what happens, then what happens to the residents?
How do we protect ourselves?” he said.
“There are no fences, no fences of any kind.
It’s like the most horrific nightmare.”
The ACC was contacted for comment, but did not respond by deadline.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the ACC has been “completely cooperative” with the State Government.
“This is a complex issue that requires a detailed, well-resourced and collaborative approach,” Ms Berejick said.
The Government has also issued an emergency order for up to $1 million to cover the cost of restoring the plant.
“I want to thank ACC and all other stakeholders for their tireless support over the past year, and I want to assure you that this will be the most expensive rebuilding project undertaken in Australia’s history,” she said.
It is unclear when the ACC plans to start rebuilding.
The building has been undergoing repairs since last year, when the fires began.