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Media release: Energy Safe reports on Jemena’s wood pole management practices

Energy Safe found Jemena’s performance was largely positive with the rate of wood pole failures declining over the past six years, however the review also identified some room for improvement.

Monday 18 March 2024 9:50pm

Energy Safe Victoria has recommended ways for Jemena to improve its network safety and reduce fire risks, after comprehensively reviewing the electricity company’s wood pole management practices.

In Victoria, electricity businesses must maintain and replace their wood power poles when necessary to help prevent pole failures which can lead to power outages and fires.

Jemena distributes electricity to more than 360,000 customers with 60,587 wood and 19,919 concrete poles spanning north-west greater Melbourne, including the suburbs of Footscray, Roxburgh Park, Sunbury, Coburg and Ivanhoe.

It has the second smallest Victorian distribution network and the lowest proportion of poles in hazardous bushfire risk areas of the state’s four electricity distribution companies that service those areas.

Energy Safe found Jemena’s performance was largely positive with the rate of wood pole failures declining over the past six years, however the review also identified some room for improvement.

It made five recommendations which included the following points:

  • Jemena is to update its inspection practices and make assurances that refresher training is periodically undertaken and that its auditor is independent.
  • Jemena is to revise its audit process to improve the quality and consistency of inspections and ensure the competence of inspectors.
  • Jemena is to submit its training course information to Energy Safe to check it complies with regulations.
  • Jemena is to continue to identify and implement improvements in wood pole management practices in the areas of asset inspections and failure investigations.
  • Jemena is to demonstrate to Energy Safe how the management of undersized poles will not lead to future performance issues and the how the practice of reinforcing poles complies with current standards.

Energy Safe will ensure its recommendations are addressed through Jemena’s Electricity Safety Management System and Bushfire Mitigation Plan.

The full review report can be found here:

ENDS

Energy Safe. Always.

Media contact: Nicole Butler M: 0477 572 378 E: media@energysafe.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 18 March 2024

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