The impacts of climate change mean more needs to be done to prepare the utilities' network for this summer. Picture: Western Power.

Getting ready for the hot summer

Western Power has begun preparing for this summer’s increased risk of bushfires as maintenance is underway across the utilities’ network.
November 2, 2023

EXTENSIVE summer preparedness work is underway across the Western Power network to minimise bushfire risk, increase network resilience and improve reliability for the community ahead of the forecasted hot summer.

With the Bureau of Meteorology signalling increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires this year, Western Power is ensuring the network is as prepared as possible for potential extreme weather conditions.

Western Power Executive Manager of Asset Management Gair Landsborough said that while extensive summer preparedness work was part of annual ongoing maintenance and renewal, the increasing impacts of climate change meant work had expanded.

“We continually refine our operations to ensure we’re improving the way assets are managed, including the 860,000 poles in the network,” he said.

“We’ve got a comprehensive poles and wires maintenance program and bushfire mitigation program which includes insulator replacements, managing trees and vegetation near wires, and have increased the helicopter cleaning of insulators.

Mr Landsborough said the work was part of the businesses drive towards ensuring network resilience and safety ahead of the summer months.

“We build in resilience two ways, first, by taking steps to reduce the risk of faults on the network and secondly by ensuring we have the resources to respond when there is an issue.

“This year we’ve added more emergency response generators and high voltage injection units and have continued upgrading distribution transformers and feeders across Perth’s suburbs and regional areas.

“We are making changes to load balancing and switching patterns to better distribute high electricity demand and reduce pressure on network infrastructure.

“While 100 per cent reliability cannot be guaranteed and climate change is having an increasing impact on our operations, we’re finding new ways to minimise outages by bolstering the network where possible to maintain our 99.91 per cent reliability record.”

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