Benalla to Euroa electricity supply

Community update 12/2/24

A total fire ban day has been declared in the Northern Country district for Tuesday 13 February. This applies to our customers in Euroa and surrounding areas. On total fire ban days, our REFCLs are required to operate at their most sensitive settings to help protect the community from bushfires. If a fault occurs, this can increase the likelihood and duration of outages tomorrow. Please be prepared for possible power outages during this extreme weather. If you are a life support customer, be ready to activate your emergency plan tomorrow.

We apologise to our customers in Euroa and surrounding areas for the number and duration of power outages recently experienced. We know it’s frustrating to be without power and that it creates significant challenges for households and communities. Restoration of reliability on this line is of the utmost importance to AusNet and we have a dedicated team working hard to address the situation. We’ve identified the cause and made some temporary changes to how our network operates to help with reliability. We’re also investigating other permanent solutions.

Reliability issues on the Benalla to Euroa 22kv line

Reliability has recently declined on our Benalla to Euroa line (known as BN11). More customers are experiencing outages and the average duration of each outage has increased.

The supply area affected by the BN11 feeder is outlined below.

While some of these outages were due to extreme weather, they have also been influenced by the new bushfire mitigation technology (known as Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters or REFCLs) we recently installed at Benalla and Violet Town in late 2023.

While REFCLs are important technology to reduce the risk of the electricity network starting bushfires, they also make the network more sensitive to faults and it can take longer to restore them. This is because when the bushfire protection operates it takes out the whole feeder line, rather than just a single or few sections. We then need to locate and clear the fault before reenergising the line, which is a more time-consuming process. The impact is more prominent on long radial (single pathway) powerlines such as Benalla to Euroa, which is a the longest in Victoria (1,206km) and has no alternative path for power supply. For more information, visit Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters.

Reliability improvements

We have identified some immediate measures to improve reliability for communities on the Benalla to Euroa line, and we continue to investigate longer-term solutions.

As short-term mitigation, we’ve made some changes to our REFCL equipment settings on low fire danger days to reduce the impact and duration of outages if they occur. We’ve cancelled all non-critical planned outages to minimise impact on the community while we work through the solutions.

We know that information is key when outages occur, and this week we’ve upgraded our Outage Tracker so customers will now get much more information about outages and the stage that they are at in their restoration

We will also have extra fault restoration crews on standby on high risk days.

We are working hard to find a comprehensive and permanent long term solution. We have a dedicated team of experts working full time on this matter and will keep the community informed of our progress.

Customer compensation

Customers who have experienced sustained unplanned outages will be automatically compensated in their next quarterly energy bill under the Electricity Distribution Code of Practice Guaranteed Service Level scheme.

For more information, visit Compensation and service standards

Power prepared tips for customers

More information and contact

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we investigate and implement both short and long-term solutions to improve the power supply into Euroa.

We will continue to share updates on this page and on our Facebook to keep you informed. You can also
report faults and emergencies online or call us on 13 17 99.