Summer restrictions can result in longer power outages for customers, regardless of where you live.
In an earlier post, we explained how Total Fire Bans from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Vehicle Movement Bans from local governments can restrict or delay our ability to restore power in the event of an outage.
Many people assume this only affects regional customers, but that’s far from the truth. Throughout the Perth metro area are pockets of bushland and general vegetation that add to our state’s bushfire risk due to the hot, dry conditions of summer.
Customers in the metro area and surrounds can be impacted by Total Fire Bans and Vehicle Movement Bans, resulting in longer outages during hot weather.
Case in point: a summer outage in Mullaloo, Beldon and Heathridge – in Perth’s northern suburbs – occurred on a Total Fire Ban and Vehicle Movement Ban day. The Total Fire Ban was in effect until midnight.
When the power went out at in the morning, our control centre couldn’t automatically restore power, nor could our crews enter any vegetated areas in their vehicles.
Crews had to manually inspect all lines affected by the outage before we could restore power. And while it was a relatively small geographical area, there were 70km of wires, 2,200 poles and 120 transformers to inspect.
No small feat when on your feet.
Once the cause of the fault was found and visually inspected to ensure reconnection wouldn’t post a fire risk, power was restored. The outage lasted nearly six hours.
This is one example, but it is a common occurrence during our long, hot summers.
Prioritising our crews
When there’s a Total Fire Ban impacting Perth metro customers, there’s a good chance it’s also impacting hills or regional customers too.
Bushfire risk is even greater in those areas and due to long feeder lines, outages can be extended due to the distance that needs to be covered.
If the greater customer impact is in the hills or regional areas, Perth metro crews can be diverted to help their colleagues to mitigate bushfire risk and limit customer impact.
This can mean longer than expected outages for those in metro areas.
Importantly, in all situations it is the safety of our customers that comes first and guides our operations in summer.
To keep up to date of any outages in your area, visit our power outages page
Find out why power outages can take longer to restore in summer
Read more about how we put safety first in bushfire season
What are Fire Danger Ratings? Visit the DFES website for full details