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Western Power invests in work in the Mid West to prepare to minimise risk ahead of bushfire season

Staff reporterMidwest Times
Western Power crews replacing poles in the Mid West.
Camera IconWestern Power crews replacing poles in the Mid West. Credit: Western Power

Western Power has assured Mid West residents that it has finished extensive work to minimise bushfire risks ahead of a predicted extreme summer.

The utility’s executive manager of asset management, Gair Landsborough, said significant work had been done including maintaining and replacing poles, wires, insulators, and managing vegetation.

“We’re investing more than $20 million on asset maintenance and upgrades, including around $2m on replacing conductors, $10m on pole replacement and reinforcement, $300,000 on insulator replacement and more than $400,000 on vegetation management in the Mid West region” he said.

On top of that, investment has been made into infrastructure upgrades in Mullewa and line washing and siliconing via helicopter.

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“We’re targeting more than 2400 insulators in the areas of Milo, Mt Adams, Dongara, Springfield, Port Denison and Yardarino to improve power reliability where we can and mitigate pole top fire risk,” Mr Landsborough said.

“Earlier this year we invested $700,000 in upgrades to network assets to enable faster restoration of power supply to communities and replaced four ring main units – three in the Shire of Irwin and one in the City of Greater Geraldton — to enable automatic fault detection and remote switching capability.

“We know there are some communities that have experienced frequent outages and we’re improving reliability through this targeted infrastructure maintenance and replacement program.”

Mr Landsborough said the average total power outage duration experienced by Mid West customers in the past 12 months had decreased by 18 per cent. But he said there was always room for constant improvement.

“The safety of the community and our crews is critical and we continue to work closely with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to make sure we have effective and efficient exemptions in place to safely restore power on days where Total Fire Bans are in place.”

With a extreme hot and dry summer forecast, people can help to reduce bushfire risk by keeping trees away from powerlines on their properties and maintaining clearance zones, reporting fallen or damaged powerlines to 13 13 51 while staying clear and calling triple-0 immediately if they see a spark or fire in vegetation.

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