Ahead of the extreme weather forecast this summer, Western Power has completed extensive preparedness work in the Mid West region to minimise bushfire risk and associated network impacts on the community.
Western Power’s Executive Manager of Asset Management Gair Landsborough said significant work had been done including maintaining and replacing poles, wires, insulators, and managing vegetation.
“We’re investing more than $20M on asset maintenance and upgrades, including around $2M on replacing conductors, $10M on pole replacement and reinforcement, $300,000 on insulator replacement and more than $400,000 on vegetation management in the Mid West region” Mr Landsborough said.
In addition to our annual bushfire mitigation work, we’ve invested in priority projects to improve network resilience across the region for the community including infrastructure upgrades in Mullewa and prioritising line washing and siliconing via helicopter.
“We’re targeting more than 2400 insulators in the areas of Milo, Mt Adams, Dongara, Springfield, Port Denison and Yardarino to improve power reliability where we can and mitigate pole top fire risk,” he said.
"Earlier this year we invested $700,000 in upgrades to network assets to enable faster restoration of power supply to communities and replaced four Ring Main Units (RMUs) – three in the Shire of Irwin and one in the City of Greater Geraldton –to enable automatic fault detection and remote switching capability.
“We know there are some communities that have experienced frequent outages and we’re improving reliability through this targeted infrastructure maintenance and replacement program.”
Mr Landsborough said there had been improvement for customers in the Mid West region who have experienced outages, with the average total power outage duration over the last 12 months decreasing by 18 per cent, and we are committed to continually improving this.
“The safety of the community and our crews is critical and we continue to work closely with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to make sure we have effective and efficient exemptions in place to safely restore power on days where Total Fire Bans are in place.”
Mr Landsborough said mitigating bushfire risk was in addition to the work being done to transform the network in outer lying areas to improve power reliability including the deployment of standalone power systems and microgrids.
The combination of extreme heat and dry conditions forecasted for the summer means we need community support to reduce bushfire risk. People can help by:
- Keeping trees away from powerlines on their properties and maintaining clearance zones.
- If you see a fallen or damaged powerline or an emergency situation affecting the electricity network, stay clear and make the safe call on 13 13 51.
- If you see a spark or fire in vegetation, no matter how small, call 000 immediately.