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Western Power has begun upgrading 70 distribution transformers across the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), including 19 transformers in the Mid West and Wheatbelt, 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 North Derek Sutherland 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.

“With the Bureau of Meteorology signalling increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires this year, we’re working hard to ensure the network is as prepared as possible,” he said.

"We’re upgrading aging equipment and improving the capacity of our assets to prepare for extreme weather conditions.

“We’ve identified and are upgrading transformers that have previously experienced or are forecast to experience extremely high demand which will help manage overload during peak times.

“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 Sutherland said.

“Almost half of the transformers identified for upgrade in the Mid West and Wheatbelt are now complete with the remaining to be upgraded by early 2024.”

The transformers selected for upgrade in the Mid West and Wheatbelt are located in Calingiri, Chittering, Clackline, Julimar, Lower Chittering, Moresby, Muchea, Springfield, Toodyay, Waggrakine, West Toodyay, Woorree and Wundowie.

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