With summer fast approaching now is the time for us all to prepare for the bushfire season. AusNet continues to undertake its extensive maintenance and vegetation management program to maintain a safe and reliable network.
You might notice our helicopter inspections in your area as we fly over the network to get a clear picture of how the landscape is looking and where we can identify any potential bushfire risks to our distribution network. You may also notice our crews trimming trees away from powerlines or carrying out important maintenance work as we step up our preparations for summer.
You may also receive notifications for planned outages. We really appreciate your patience and understanding while we complete this critical work. We know it is a difficult time to be without power and we’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused by these works.
As part of our work to prepare the network for the bushfire season we’ve invested $38 million on vegetation programs for our distribution network this year. Our program will inspect and cut 56,000 spans of our network in high bushfire risk areas, which is equivalent to trimming around 280,000 trees and we have removed 5,700 hazardous trees to improve safety ahead of the bushfire season.
We’re also installing leading-edge technology, known as Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter or REFCL, in hazardous bushfire risk areas.
REFCLs act like a safety switch and rapidly switches off the power to fallen lines, preventing bushfires. Nine REFCL systems across AusNet’s distribution network are already operating and successfully reducing bushfire risk for customers. Ahead of summer we’ve installed an additional five REFCL systems at Bairnsdale, Lilydale, Mansfield, Moe and Ringwood North. We are continuing to invest in other technologies that work in tandem with these programs to maintain a safe and reliable network.
How you can be power prepared
As bushfire season approaches, AusNet is encouraging customers to be power prepared.
Are your bushfire plans up to date and do they factor in the possible loss of electricity? During a bushfire, customers may experience interruptions to their electricity and/or gas supply, even if their property isn’t directly affected. For this reason, bushfire contingency plans should always factor in possible loss of gas and electricity.
Customers who have a private electric line also need to ensure it is clear of vegetation to reduce bushfire risk. Customers with private electric lines should contact a registered electrician or certified tree clearer for advice to clear their property of any unwanted vegetation.
You can also check AusNet’s outagetracker.com.au for updates on outages and call our faults and emergency call centre on 13 17 99.