T&D World Magazine

Western Power Upgrades Network in Upper Swan to Reduce Fire Risk

Western Power crews are working to upgrade a section of the electricity network in Upper Swan as part of its Bushfire Mitigation Program in western Australia.
 More than 70 power poles and 4.46 km of high voltage power lines in Muchea and Bullsbrook are being replaced as part of the program, which prioritizes work in extreme fire risk zones.

Western Power’s delivery manager Lou Tognolini said that in addition to the high voltage cable, Western Power is also replacing 1.15 km of low voltage cable with aerial bundled cable.
“The installation of aerial bundled cable was one of the recommendations from the Victorian Bushfire Inquiry. Insulated bundled cables cannot clash and cause a spark, which means they are less likely to start a fire” said Tognolini.

Arial bundled cable is produced by wrapping the four low voltage overhead wires into one insulated bundled cable. The safety clearance for this type of cable is lower than standard power lines and it also reduces the likelihood of power interruptions.

“There is no escaping the fact that any electricity network, especially in a dry climate like Australia, carries with it the risk of starting a fire.

“The work Western Power is doing in Upper Swan is part of our year round program to repair or replace infrastructure in high and extreme fire risk areas to reduce the potential for one of our assets to start a fire” said Tognolini.

The work along Copley road and St Albans road is due to be completed by the end of February.

 Tognolini said most residents in the area understood the importance of the work being carried out by Western Power.
“We apologise for the inconvenience to residents and the short term disruption to traffic, but most people we’ve spoken to understand that the work we are doing is aimed at keeping them safe,” concluded Tognolini.

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