Electricity sector reiterates safety warning to farmers

Aurora Energy and Transend Networks have joined with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) in urging farmers to take care when setting up and moving irrigation equipment around near overhead powerlines.

The reminder follows two recent instances where travelling irrigators have become entangled in powerlines and brought the lines down. In one incident, a powerline had to be replaced due to damage caused by water sprayed from an irrigator.

TFGA chief executive officer Jan Davis said these types of incidents could easily have resulted in death or serious injury for the farmers operating the equipment.

“Farmers need to obey clearance rules when working and irrigating near powerlines,” Ms Davis said.

“Every time a farmer is working near powerlines there is a risk of at best a power outage disrupting the neighbourhood, or at worst, a fatality. There is no room for complacency when it comes to electricity.”

Aurora Energy chief operations officer distribution business, Warren Batchelor said Aurora and Transend were concerned the message the two companies have delivered to the farming community throughout many years via an annual television, radio and press advertising campaign coinciding with irrigation season – Look Up Look Out – doesn’t seem to be getting through.

“It is absolutely essential that people and equipment are kept at least three metres away from any overhead powerline, to remove the very real risk of electrocution and electric shock, and also prevent bushfires caused by fallen powerlines and power interruptions,” he said.

“When a travelling irrigator is set up too close to a powerline, the jets of water cause momentary power interruptions to surrounding properties, which impacts on their homes and businesses and ties up Aurora resources, often out of hours.