Networks prepare for wild weather

Western Australia’s state-owned energy corporation Western Power is preparing for a tough bushfire season, with nearly the entire network falling within areas forecast to experience an above-normal fire risk rating this summer.

Executive manager network planning and operations Cameron Parrotte said more than $290 million would be invested this year on bushfire mitigation in high and extreme bushfire areas.

“We are spending $115 million on replacing poles, $115 million replacing overhead powerlines, and $23 million on clearing trees and bushes from powerlines,” Mr Parrotte said.

In the past year, nearly 54,000 wood poles have been reinforced and nearly 18,000 have been replaced. New poles are treated with fire retardant paint.

More than 400km of overhead powerlines have been replaced and helicopter line washing and the silicone coating of pole top equipment will continue throughout the summer.

“Western Power continues to improve its bushfire preparedness program with comprehensive network risk modelling to identify high risk zones for pole and powerline replacements and increased frequency of pole inspections,” Mr Parrotte said.

“We are doing everything we can to provide a safe and reliable electricity network, but being prepared for bushfires is a shared responsibility across government, emergency services and our community.