Detailed patrols of the power network located north east of Ballarat are underway as part of electricity distributor Powercor’s ongoing program to improve reliability and prepare for summer.
Specialist crews are inspecting more than 800 kilometres of powerlines, poles and other infrastructure to reduce the risk of future outages. The patrols will also allow crews to view and identify trees that may pose a risk of falling during extreme weather.
The inspections are in addition to Powercor’s annual inspection and maintenance program and will inform activities needed toto improve reliability.
The patrols will focus on two major powerlines that supply electricity to customers between Ballarat North and Morrisons through to Glenlyon, including Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Gordon, Mount Egerton, Wheatsheaf and Lyonville. This work is in response to recent power outages that have affected some homes and businesses in the region.
Powercor’s Network Performance Manager Daniel Smith said the patrols were about minimising the potential of future outages for customers. “We know how much customers rely on us to deliver reliable and safe power to their homes and businesses,” Mr Smith said. “We recognise that unfortunately our network is currently not meeting its usual high standards of reliability for customers across parts of the region north and east of Ballarat. This has meant some communities have been without power on multiple occasions over recent months, including during June’s major windstorm event.”
The reasons for these outages vary and range from weather events, vegetation, animals and equipment damage, while in some cases causes have not been able to be identified. In all events, Powercor crews have responded as quickly as possible to restore power to our customers.
“On-the-ground patrols allow us to find those unusual or irregular issues on the network that may eventually lead to an outage for our customers,” Mr Smith said. “These dedicated patrols will allow us to immediately identify any urgent action that may need to be taken ahead of the hotter months. For example, in some areas we may need to replace equipment damaged during recent weather events or conduct extra vegetation cutting after the wet winter spurred extra growth. We may also install protection equipment that reduces outages that are caused by animals or introduce technology to reduce the likelihood of bark contacting powerlines.”
Crews began the patrols in mid-September and are expected to continue through October, depending on weather. The powerlines are in some of Powercor’s most difficult terrain and dense vegetation. Powercor’s annual inspection, maintenance and vegetation cutting programs are also continuing and are on track ahead of the summer months.