Western Power prepares for massive rebuild

Western Power crews have replaced power poles damaged or destroyed by the Waroona fire, in what is expected to be an unprecedented rebuild of the state’s electricity network.

Scoping crews were granted access to the fire zone yesterday and early assessments of the extent of damage to the network point to the final number of poles that will need to be replaced could exceed 1000.

Western Power sent 80 trucks and more than 140 trained personnel to Waroona yesterday to begin preparing for restoration work. Fifty trucks were sent from the Jandakot depot with another 30 coming from surrounding regional depots including Picton, near Bunbury.

“This was just the start of the rebuild efforts,” Western Power executive manager, asset operations, David Fyfe said.

“Now that we have an indication of the full extent we will mobilise more manpower and expertise to reconnect customers as safely and as quickly as possible.

“Rebuilding the network is expected to take a prolonged effort.

“To put it in to perspective the fire area is the size of metropolitan Perth. This restoration will be three times larger than any other event we have ever dealt with before.”

Western Power’s operational teams will be in attendance at community forums in bushfire affected areas to answer any questions customers may have around restoration of power supply.

Western Power will continue to work in conjunction with local shire authorities and outside agencies to priorities reconnection efforts. Emergency generators are being used to power Waroona and Preston Beach until power can be restored. Crews will continue to work closely with DFES personnel who are responsible for clearing debris from the area.

Approximately 1000 customers are currently without power.