Yass residents have hit out at a scheduled power outage which saw hundreds of homes lose electricity, and some water, on a day when the temperature was forecast to reach 40 degrees.
Up to 240 occupants of rural properties around Yass were scheduled to lose power from 8.45am until 3pm on Thursday, but Essential Energy said on the morning they would reduce the hours; from 9am until 1pm.
The outage was part of a series scheduled each Thursday for four weeks as the new Walgrove housing estate is built.
It left many rural properties which rely on water pumps without running water for the duration, while the temperature was forecast to hit 40 degrees and the fire danger rating was very high.
Tracey Bassett was one of several residents who had lodged a formal complaint with Essential Energy in the lead up to Thursday's scheduled outage.
Ms Bassett said many elderly and infirm people were placed at risk and criticised the company's "lack of flexibility" in performing non-emergency work.
She described their attitude as "sorry, not sorry".
"It's not emergency work or regular maintenance, it's work on a new estate. I don't have an issue with the work in general but I want them to take the risk factors into account," she said.
She said while the reduced hours of outage are "better than nothing", it still left many people suffering.
She said no power left many homes at risk of fire and many animals vulnerable to the effects of the hot weather.
"If there's a fire, there's no first line of defence. There's quite a bit of fuel around at the moment," Ms Bassett said.
Another affected resident, Anita Langford said she knows of people on her road who are battling cancer or have young children, and she herself has two very sick dogs.
She said the work should have been more spread out or scheduled for a month not notorious for extreme heat.
"If it was chucking lightning bolts out of the sky or raining, they'd call it off, they would find room in their schedule for those extreme weather events. They just don't want to do it," Ms Langford said.
But Yass farmer and local Rural Fire Service brigade captain Eric Gruber said while the outage was an inconvenience, property owners needed to have a back-up plan.
"If we get a big fire we're going to lose power anyway. People should be prepared in the bush," he said.
He said the power came back on at his place well before 1pm.
According to their website, Essential Energy last week cancelled another outage scheduled for Thursday affecting 217 customers north-east of Yass in Blakney Creek, Broadway and Dalton.
Another outage scheduled for Thursday, affecting 168 residents east of Collector, was canned on Wednesday.
Essential Energy's general manager Steven Ilitch said the company's top priority was always the safety of the public, its contactors and their employees.
He said Essential Energy assesses the risk of planned work on a case-by-case basis to "determine the appropriateness to proceed".
"In line with legislative requirements, Essential Energy provides all customers with at least four business days' prior notice of any planned power outage to allow them to make alternative arrangements, if necessary," Mr Ilitch said.