Power line project targets bushfire safety

Western Power will prioritise a plan to reduce the risk posed by power lines in its network of a similar construction to the one that caused the Wickepin-Narrogin bushfire.

This action follows discussions between Building and Energy – WA’s energy safety regulator – and Western Power in relation to the February 2022 bushfire, which impacted 18,000ha of farmland and bushland.

The fire started when Western Power’s power line conductors of a particular length and construction clashed, causing ignition of the dry grass below.

WA’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, ordered Western Power to immediately remediate the risk at the Wickepin-Narrogin site while Building and Energy’s investigation progressed.

Mr Abdoolakhan has since requested that Western Power identifies other power line bays of a similar length and construction and develops a remediation program to mitigate the bushfire risks.

“Western Power has subsequently identified three power line bays of similar length and construction across its network and will remediate them prior to this year’s bushfire season,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“In addition, I requested that Western Power identifies other bays of shorter length and similar construction that pose a risk of conductor clashing. Western Power consequently developed a remediation plan for these bays.

“Under the plan, I am advised work will be prioritised based on the associated risks. The bays will be inspected and, if required, temporarily treated by 30 November 2022 before permanent remediation of all remaining bays before the end of 2023.”

Building and Energy will continue to monitor Western Power’s strategies and remediation program while also progressing its investigation into the Wickepin-Narrogin fire as a high priority.

“We have made good progress with the investigation,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“While investigations of this type take time, we have identified other network assets with similar characteristics to the one involved in the fire and we believe they need to be remediated.

“It is encouraging that Western Power is working on a program to reduce the risks posed by similar power line bays in its network.”


Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au

Building and Energy
Media release
16 Nov 2022

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