UPDATE 1 July 2019Submissions have now closed. ESV is considering information it has received as part of the consultation and will finalise the report in due course.
31 May 2019Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is calling for submissions on its draft report into the state of wooden power poles in the south west region of Victoria and its assessment of Powercor’s approach to their inspection and maintenance of these poles. The draft report was released today and is available . A separate legal investigation into the Garvoc and Terang fires is ongoing. In response to significant concerns from communities whose lives were threatened and property burnt by the St Patrick’s Day fires of 2018, ESV has conducted a detailed investigation. Technical reports were previously released on all these fires. “The report is now available and ESV is seeking feedback and comments from the community and other stakeholders,” Director of Energy Safety Paul Fearon said. “The report was warranted given the damage caused to the community across the south west by the St Patrick’s Day fires. The community deserves assurance that action has been taken to mitigate the risk of pole failure that caused one of the major fires. “Community concerns around other poles in the region also had to be addressed. “Powercor has made the required changes to their inspection and maintenance processes to adequately deal with those poles that are degrading at a faster rate. But if there are safety issues that have not been considered in this draft, we want to hear about them.” The report found that the changes – that came about after significant community criticism – were essential to address the higher rates of degradation associated with some older poles. Those changes include:
- increasing the frequency of inspection and testing processes for limited life poles from 30 months to 12 months
- increasing the ‘safety factor’ from 25% to 40%. For poles identified for replacement, the safety factor determines at what point they must be replaced.
Reviewed 18 January 2023