Significant upgrades to Stawell's electricity network have begun as new technology is installed to improve the safety of powerlines in high bushfire-risk areas.
Powercor has begun its work to install a state of the art device known as a Rapid Earth Fault Currently Limiter (REFCL).
The REFCL will act as giant safety switch, reducing voltage levels within milliseconds to mitigate the risk of fire if a tree strikes powerlines or lines hit the ground.
This new technology is being installed at the Stawell Zone Substation and will be a major step towards improving bushfire safety in the region.
Powercor REFCL program delivery manager Andrew Bailey said installation works would involve some planned power outages to upgrade assets.
Customers with Powercor will be notified directly in advance of any planned outages.
"We understand that any power outages are inconvenient and we take steps to minimise the impact on the community as much as possible," Mr Bailey said.
"This is about making our communities safer and we thank customers for their understanding as we work to further improve the safety of our network."
REFCL technology is being rolled out in response to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission recommendations and with Powercor having already installed them at 16 high bushfire risk areas.
"REFCLs have reduced the risk of fires starting from power assets, and this summer alone they have activated numerous times across the Powercor network," Mr Bailey said.
"REFCL technology works and is keeping communities safer."
The REFCL will protect more than 537km of powerlines, including in Stawell, Pomonal, Halls Gap, Landsborough, Rupanyup, Dadswell's Bridge, Minyip and surrounds.
The Stawell REFCL is due to be complete before next summer and Powercor is on track to meet the legislated requirements and complete the overall program rollout by April 2023
Powercor has also completed its other VBRC commitments, including the installation of more than 1,200 enhanced Automatic Circuit Reclosures (ACRs), 220,000 armour rods and vibration dampers and 1,800 line spacers.
For more information about REFCLs visit https://www.powercor.com.au/safety/bushfire-mitigation program/rapid-earth-fault-current-limiter/
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