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Fees waived for bushfire affected Western Australians

In support of Western Australians affected by the recent Wooroloo bushfire, Western Power is waiving fees related to network connections and reconnections for residents whose properties were impacted by the bushfire.

For residents whose property has been destroyed by the fire, we’ll be waiving the cost of establishing a temporary builder supply (if required), which can be up to $555. Where property or network connections have been damaged but not destroyed by the fire, reconnecting existing customers’ points and replacing meters will be free of charge as per our normal practice.

Western Power Asset Operations Executive Manager Sam Barbaro said our thoughts continued to be with our fellow Western Australians impacted by the bushfire and, as a utility with the community at the centre of everything we do, we want to help as much as we can.

“Removing these fees will provide further financial support for the residents in these challenging times and will streamline homes getting reconnected to the repaired network in the area,” he said.

“Currently around 390 properties remain without power and we have more than 200 employees on the ground undertaking a comprehensive rebuild, one of the largest we’ve ever undertaken.

“We’ve assessed all fire-damaged parts of the network and identified significant damage to our assets, including 532 poles and 44 transformers. Our crews have worked tirelessly in difficult conditions to replace 240 poles, 22 kilometres of wire and 17 transformers in the past six days.

“While we’re making significant progress, the rebuild of our network will take a few weeks and we thank the community for their patience while we work as quickly as safely possible.”

Mr Barbaro said Western Power community officers were onsite at Percy Cullen Oval in Gidgegannup this week to help customers with any questions customers might have regarding power supply to their properties.

Customers should be aware that before power can be restored to their property, WA Electrical Inspectors need to assess if there has been any damage to the property’s switchboard and anything visible outside of the house which could pose a safety concern when the property is reconnected. When property owners return to their homes, they need to look for a tag or notification on the status of their electricity supply.

  1. If there is a tag that says `Temporary disconnection’, the property owner or other person in charge must arrange for a private electrical contractor to complete the required works. Once all defects outlined on the tag have been rectified by the electrician, your supply can be reconnected.
  2. If there is a tag that says `Information|Caution’, your connection can be reconnected to the network when power’s been restored. Once connected, you can flick your main switch to ‘On’.

If you are unsure whether your property has been inspected by a WA Electrical Inspector, please call 13 10 87 between 8.30am-5.00pm.

If you’re unsure what electrical infrastructure you’re responsible for on your property, visit the Building and Energy website’s ‘Private power poles and lines are your responsibility’ page and also on our website.

We advise property owners to be careful of hazards when they return to their properties. We remind people again to please not touch any Western Power assets, including poles, even if they have been made safe. We urge people to stay eight metres away from any fallen power lines or other damage to the network.

For extra precaution, when `network power’ has been restored, the advice from the Electrical Inspectors is that you conduct a visual safety check on all external electrical equipment (bore pumps, power points, external ground lighting) within your property prior to turning on. If you find any damaged electrical equipment you must contact an electrical contractor to have the problem rectified.

Power fluctuations may occur when power is restored, so it’s helpful to unplug sensitive appliances prior to reconnecting. When reconnected, turn on appliances progressively, starting with lights and small appliances. If you experience any shocks, zaps or tingles report them immediately on 13 13 51.

We understand this is a difficult time for many Western Australians. This process is in place to ensure your safety. If you require more information on the role of WA Electrical Inspectors, please visit www.waei.com.au.

Please be aware that if you wish to connect a generator you should contact your local licensed electrical contractor or Building and Energy on 1300 489 099 before doing so.

Resources are available for community members at www.westernpower.com.au including information on staying safe, including using generators.

Please stay eight metres away from any fallen power lines or other damage to the network. Make The Safe Call to 13 13 51 so that emergency response crews can attend the hazard to make the area safe.

The Extended Outage Payment System has been doubled for customers affected by the devastating bushfires from $80 to $160, so if you’ve been without power for more than 12 hours because of these fires you can apply for the extended outage payment online.