Network technology boosts safety during high-risk bushfire periods

Multinational engineering and electronics company Siemens has launched an innovation set to improve reliability of electricity networks and to increase safety in high-risk bushfire areas.

The Siemens Remote Control Unit (RCU), which was launched in the company’s Brisbane manufacturing facility, works in conjunction with the Siemens Fusesaver to improve electricity network reliability to ensure fewer outages or shortage outage times.

Siemens business manager Dr Brett Watson said the RCU will allow utilities to remotely access power lines to change protection modes during high-risk bushfire times, avoiding callouts during unsafe weather conditions and resources of line crews.

“Fusesaver is the world’s fastest medium voltage vacuum circuit breaker, designed for the harshest weather conditions to improve electricity reliability and increase safety in remote areas around the world, with trials locally and internationally proving its success,” he said.

Power and Water Corporation has trailed the technology, with representative Martin Fleming saying the results were outstanding in remote and weather-exposed areas.

“One area, that was particularly prone to bats striking the line, went from an average of 60 outages a month to around just one a month,” Mr Fleming said.

The technology is currently being trialled internationally, including in Ireland, Uganda and Kenya.