Western Power has completed extensive bushfire preparedness work in the Mid West region ahead of the upcoming summer season to minimise fire risk and associated impacts on the network.
Western Power Executive Manager of Asset Operations Zane Christmas said significant work had been done including maintaining and replacing poles, wires and insulators where needed, and managing vegetation.
“This financial year in the Mid West Region we are investing more than $16M on bushfire mitigation, this includes around $2.5M on replacing conductors, $10M on pole replacement and reinforcement, $2M on insulator replacement and $1.5M on vegetation management” he said.
“We’ve increased insulator replacements and network maintenance to improve power reliability where we can and mitigate pole top fire risk in the region,” he said.
"Additionally we’re continuing fire modelling research to improve our ability to predict periods of risk where weather may affect the network.
“As always, the safety of our crews and the community is our priority, and we’ve worked 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.”
Western Power has a number of projects in the Mid West region that are being progressively implemented over a number of years to improve reliability performance including:
- Interconnection between Northampton and Kalbarri which helps improve reliability of supply by enabling energy load transfer between feeders.
- Planned replacement of protection devices and conductor clashing remediations to improve safety and reliability of supply.
- Installation of protection device to better sectionalise the network and reduce the impact of fault events.
- Additional generation enhancement to Kalbarri Microgrid to enable support to the town of Kalbarri for longer periods.
Mr Christmas said this was in addition to the work being done to transform the grid to an autonomous network in outer lying areas to improve power reliability an mitigate bushfire risk 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