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Western Power is undertaking an extensive package of work throughout the City of Greater Geraldton and Shire of Irwin to enhance network resilience.

Executive Manager of Asset Operations Zane Christmas said the work includes treating insulators on 410 poles in coastal areas between Geraldton and Port Denison.

Treating insulators with silicone is an effective pole top fire mitigation technique, particularly in coastal areas where the network is exposed to sea salt pollution, Mr Christmas said.

Applying silicone to insulators reduces dust and pollution build up which, when combined with light drizzling rain or misty damp conditions, can create paths or tracks on the insulators potentially leading to pole top fires.

The package of work complements, and is in addition to, the live line washing and siliconing program via helicopter that commenced in September last year.

The helicopter washing and siliconing program is particularly suited to treating insulators in more remote areas while silicone only via elevated work platform is better suited to populated areas, along main roads or areas with livestock, Mr Christmas said.

Both treatments are conducted by specialist teams on live lines which means the power stays on while we do it, eliminating the need for planned outages.

"Recent accelerated aging tests that we conducted show that insulators treated with silicone only were resilient to a variety of environmental conditions meaning we can employ this technique effectively in areas where helicopters aren’t allowed to fly.

We employ multiple pole top fire mitigation techniques including insulator washing and siliconing, silicone only application and replacing poles, crossarms and insulators as part of our comprehensive maintenance programs to ensure a safe and resilient network.

The insulator siliconing work will commence this month and be completed by September.

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