The devil is in the detail: Ergon


Better detail about electricity network incidents is providing a clearer picture about accidental contact with powerlines for Ergon Energy, helping ongoing plans to minimise risks.

Information reported through Ergon’s latest Community Electrical Safety Awareness Plan (CESAP) shows an increase in the number of reported electrical incidents on the network – but is also proving the “look up and live” campaign message and other safety advice is having a positive effect.

A total of 452 community electrical incidents were reported to Ergon Energy in the 2013/14 year. Statistics on network incidents are now revealing not just the type of community incident or number of incidents per industry sector, but also specific activities or equipment involved in potentially deadly accidents.

Executive general manager customer service Peter Billing said a better understanding of incidents would help Ergon target its safety messages.

An alarming 76 per cent of industry-related network incidents involved contact with overhead powerlines, according to Mr Billing.

“More detailed incident data is starting to reveal the causal factors and will help us deliver more effective safety strategies,” he said.

“For example, while we have known for some time road and transport incidents make up a large percentage of all network impacts, we are now getting a clearer picture which shows that high-load incidents are a growing problem.

“As another example, we now also know excavators are the machine most likely to be involved in construction industry incidents and our plan is to engage more effectively with those operators.

“We know targeting safety strategies to specific industries works to get vital safety messages front of mind – but there is still more work to be done.”

While there were no deaths related to electricity network impacts and a decreased number of serious injuries last year, an increase in the number of reported accidental contacts with Ergon Energy’s network is a key focus on the organisation’s Community Electrical Safety Awareness Plan.

“Our CESAP outlines initiatives and actions to educate and enable the community to keep themselves safe around our assets – whether at home or place of work,” Mr Billing said.

“We treat every reported electrical incident seriously and we want everyone to work with us to end the danger that is very real whenever there is accidental contact with powerlines.”