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Western Power has begun upgrading 70 distribution transformers across the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), including eight transformers in the Great Southern and South West, to increase the resilience of the network.

Distribution transformers, which convert the high voltage used in power lines to a lower voltage that’s suitable for residential use, are a vital part of the electricity grid.

Western Power Manager of Operations South Jeff Spinner said the upgrades were part of an extensive package of summer preparedness and bushfire management works to minimise fire risk, strengthen network resilience and improve reliability, with work prioritised based on network requirements.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecasted another hot and dry summer so we’re undertaking extra work to improve the capacity of our assets,” he said.

“We’ve identified and are upgrading a number of transformers that have previously experienced or are forecast to experience extremely high demand.

“These upgrades are in addition to our regular maintenance programs and will help manage overload during peak times such as during extreme weather events.

“While we cannot guarantee 100 per cent reliability, we’re doing everything we can to improve network resilience to minimise the duration and number of unplanned outages.”

The distribution transformer upgrades commenced in August and involve assets which service more than 6,500 customers across the SWIS.

“Our crews are working to complete the upgrades as quickly as possible to prepare for the warmer weather but some sites are more complex than others so they may take more time to complete,” Mr Spinner said.

“The majority of the transformers identified for upgrade in the Great Southern and South West are now complete with the few remaining transformers to be upgraded by early 2024.”

The transformers selected for upgrade in the Great Southern and South West are located in Australind, Abbey, Boyanup, Capel, Leschenault, Pinwernying and Yallingup.

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