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A spokesperson for electricity provider SP AusNet said that an incident that looked like an explosion was actually a flashover from electrical lines going down.
"The station plays a significant role in distributing electricity throughout Gippsland, so when the powerlines have come down it has caused a flashover, which is typical in the electricity network," said spokesperson Jonathan Geddes. "That's what people are reporting as an explosion. It is not really an explosion - it is just a flashover, and that resulted in a widespread blackout in Gippsland, possibly 80,000 customers."
Witness Jaye Atlee described it as looking like a "type of electrical storm." "I've never seen anything like it. It was a bit of a glow and a really loud rumble," she said. "I was getting ready for work and I heard the rumble through my house. I thought my house was on fire or something was happening."
Another resident thought it was an atomic bomb. David said, "It was a massive, deep, rumbling, arcing noise and then all of a sudden I saw this massive fireball. It looked like a mushroom cloud going up and you could see the electrical arcing that was going through the cloud."