SA Power has taken a number of steps to help keep the network running safely during bushfire season.
Each year SA Power make a big investment in its network in preparation for bushfire season and to reduce the potential for bushfires starting, including:
Clearing trees and vegetation away from power assets
Aerial and ground patrols of lines in high bushfire risk areas
Replacement and upgrading of equipment to meet the summer peak power demand
Operating the network more conservatively when the risk of bushfire is high
Training employees on how to operate equipment and work safely on high bushfire risk days
SA Power monitor the weather and fire conditions closely and said on occasion it may be necessary to turn off the power supply to an area where there is a high risk for bushfires.
After Ash Wednesday, legislation was introduced allowing SA Power to turn off power in extreme bushfire risk situations. SA Power said turning off power isn’t done without careful consideration and the following is used to help reach the decision:
Use Bureau of Meteorology weather station observations
Consult with the Country Fire Service on fire danger rating
Monitor media for information on impacts of local weather conditions e.g. windborne debris
Where it’s safe, SA Power staff observe and feedback information on local conditions
Ultimately the rate of, and level of escalation of the weather, determines what actions are taken and how much time SA Power have to act.
The best way to keep across the very latest information is via SA Power Networks social media pages Facebook and Twitter, on their website, through their SMS alerts service and through the media, particularly local ABC radio stations.
SA Power also urge people who may live in areas susceptible to bushfires, to include a section on what to do if the power goes out in their bushfire action plans.