Regulator kicks off inspections to prevent bushfires

powerlines touching trees (united energy)
Image: Shutterstock

Energy Safe Victoria has commenced inspections of thousands of kilometres of powerlines to ensure they are clear of vegetation ahead of summer.

Vegetation coming into contact with powerlines is a significant risk and cause of bushfires. It can also be the cause of widespread electricity outages.

Related article: Transgrid completes annual bushfire prevention program

Major electricity companies and councils are responsible for vegetation management and are required by law to ensure there is enough distance between vegetation and powerlines to prevent them coming into contact.

As Victoria’s safety regulator, Energy Safe carries out an audit and inspection program, targeting high bushfire risk areas. Key target areas will include the Dandenong Ranges, the Macedon Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula. Inspectors will also focus on Victoria’s south-west, including areas impacted by the St Patrick’s Day fires of 2018, and the Colac Otways region.

“Our audit and inspection program has started and we will look at over 6,000 spans of powerlines in Victoria’s hazardous bushfire risk areas before the weather starts to really heat up and the bushfire risk increases,” Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said.

“This work is particularly important ahead of this summer with hotter and drier conditions predicted for the summer ahead.

“Where we find non-compliance we will take action, including issuing fines and non-compliance notices that require MECs and Councils to urgently address safety risks being caused by vegetation. There is no excuse for line clearance breaches—each of which is essentially a bushfire risk.”

Related article: Bushfire survivors take fossil fuel fight to court

Energy Safe Compliance Officers will be on the road across the state to inspect vegetation and ensure the management systems and plans of major electricity companies and councils are being adhered to. Inspections will also ensure previous non-compliances have been corrected.

Previous articleApplications open for Transgrid engineering scholarships
Next articlePinpointing the exact location of power faults in minutes