AusNet invests $10m to improve energy reliability in Euroa region

12 June 2024

AusNet has taken action to improve the reliability of the Benalla to Euroa electricity distribution line, known as BN11, investing over $10 million since January to make energy in the region more robust. 

Reliability concerns were identified with the BN11 line earlier this year and AusNet committed to put in place solutions to address these reliability issues. 

In addition to other short-term strategies which have already been put in place, AusNet is installing additional recloser units with units that have greater functionality. 

“This will improve reliability and bushfire mitigation for the region,” said Mr Linnie. 

These installations will cost over $5.5 million. 

AusNet Executive General Manager Network Operations Andrew Linnie said reclosers are being installed at key locations on the 22kV powerline, enabling our operations team to segment the network so outages will impact fewer people. 

Reclosers are in essence circuit breakers which can identify faults and isolate the part of the network that is impacted by a fault. 

“What this means in a practical sense is that when the line trips, the reclosers will narrow down the fault location, so we can send crews to fix the problem more quickly,” said Mr Linnie. 

The first two reclosers will be in place and operational by next week, with an additional six units to be installed by the end of August.

AusNet will also install a bushfire protection switch at the Violet Town Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) site, which will be operational by this summer. 

“The switch will allow us to transition between our bushfire mitigation technology and traditional protection systems to maintain reliability while also managing bushfire risk in the region,” said Mr Linnie. 

“From a customer’s perspective this means if their power goes off due to a fault or planned maintenance, the smallest number of people will be affected for as short a time as possible.” 

Other work undertaken in the region since January includes:

  • Amended operating procedures and REFCL settings for low fire danger days to reduce the frequency and duration of outages.
  • Repaired defective equipment to improve control and response times.
  • Temporarily relocated helicopter to improve response times and allocated additional support crews.
  • Created a feeder patrol plan to reduce fault identification times.
  • Provided mobile generation to support major events, such as the music festival and cattle show.
  • Completed augmentation to extend the fault targeting trial.
  • Undertook underground road crossing condition survey and completed vegetation and thermo-vision survey.
  • Completed protection setting changes.
  • Additional animal proofing of 45 structures in areas where animal related faults have occurred.