Power disruptions to Ararat electricity customers – scheduled for this Sunday – have been rescheduled after residents hit back, complaining that the outage would affect Bathurst 1000 TV viewing.
The disruption was going to take place so Powercor could install “world-leading technology” to improve the safety of powerlines in high bushfire risk areas.
The Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) device will now be installed at a later date, which will operate like a large safety switch on the network and is designed to minimise the chance of a spark occurring if a powerline comes into contact with the ground or a tree limb.
REFCL Technical Director at Powercor, Andrew Bailey said the project will play an important part in improving public safety in time for summer.
“Significant consultation with small businesses in Ararat identified Sunday as the best time to plan for large scale works that may cause an outage,” Mr Bailey said.
“After checking all locally planned activities and events, we selected 13 October and had notified customers to expect outages. We have since learned this date coincides with the Bathurst 1000 which people were eager to watch from the comfort of their homes.”
“It is an example of how hard it can be to find a date that suits everyone for important work to be conducted.”
The work will now be rescheduled in the next month to ensure the works are conducted before summer.
“We’ll explore all options for conducting this work, including new techniques that involve our team working on live electric power lines, which minimises outages for customers,” Mr Bailey said.
Ararat will be the ninth zone substation to have the REFCL devices, with others already operating across the Powercor network.
“We are focused on delivering safe power to homes and business and the REFCL device will significantly improve the safety of our infrastructure and reduce the risk of fires starting from electricity assets,” Mr Bailey said.
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