Energex is warning people who attach signs to power poles they are dicing with death following a weekend incident that could have ended in tragedy.
Crews responding to an emergency outage at Holland Park East on Saturday afternoon found a scorched advertising sign and staple gun, as well as damage to an 11,000V cable attached to a power pole.
“We have no idea what state the person who tried to post the sign was in because they fled the scene, but their actions could have been fatal or at least led to severe burns,” Energex area manager Kevin Lavender said.
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“We have network protection in place for the community’s safety, but that does not mean it’s okay to interfere with electrical assets.
“It is mind-blowing that anyone would risk their life to attach a sign to a power pole. They’ve also caused disruption to the community as power was cut to more than 1000 customers, who remained without power while crews fixed the damage.”
He said illegal sign posters were not only risking their own safety and causing unnecessary disruption, they create additional risks for Energex crews working on the electricity network.
“Imagine turning up at work to discover someone had left rusty nails, screws and staples half-driven into your workspace and how dangerous that’d be for you—this is exactly what our crews are facing,” Lavender said.
Energex contracts coordinator Arturo Erazo said the risk was growing with an increasing number of advertising signs being illegally tacked up on power poles across state.
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“What the people who put up these signs don’t appreciate is that our crews often have to climb these poles at night and during severe weather in pouring rain with low visibility.
“The nails, screws and the signs themselves can easily rip into our crews’ protective clothing and skin, putting them in a very dangerous situation.
“Some of these backyard operators also don’t know that attaching signs to our power poles isn’t just dangerous and a huge waste of public resources—it’s also illegal and can attract fines of more than $6000 under state legislation,” he said.
Erazo said Energex could no longer tolerate this dangerous practice and will be pursuing legal action against businesses or individuals associated with unauthorised signage.