This work focuses on managing vegetation clearances around powerlines, extensive asset inspection and maintenance programs, innovative network safety and protection systems and helping customers manage privately owned overhead electric lines.
We use state-of-the-art technology to continually improve the way we can identify and manage any fire risk and conduct regular consultation with customers and stakeholders regarding their expectations about bushfire mitigation. We also use a fire risk model developed by the CSIRO to help us plan for bushfires at any point on our network.
The aim is to mitigate the likelihood of community damage caused by fire started by our assets.
Under our Bushfire Mitigation Plan, we manage assets and risks that could cause fires due to:
- surface contamination of insulators combined with moisture resulting in electrical tracking and potentially leading to pole or cross arm fires.
- failure or malfunction of network devices such as surge arresters and expulsion drop out fuses.
- contact between vegetation and the electricity network.
- bird or animal or third-party contact with electricity assets.
- failure of line hardware (electrical and mechanical).
- conductor failures.
Natural disasters such as bushfires, floods or extreme weather events may also trigger one or many of these causes of ignition risk.
REFCLs and bushfire prevention
In 2009, we were the first in the world to use the Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) system to reduce the likelihood of powerline-related bushfires. Since that trial we have installed REFCLs at zone substations in Mornington, Dromana and Frankston.