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Leading-edge technology rollout underway in Kinglake

State Liberal Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish MP visited Kinglake today to inspect the rollout of leading-edge technology that will reduce the risk of powerline-related bushfires.

Technology, known as Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter or REFCL, is being installed in selected hazardous bushfire risk areas including Kinglake and Rubicon in the Murrindindi Shire.

“This initiative is mandated by the Victorian Government and is part of a broader Powerline Bushfire Safety Program aimed at improving safety across the network following the 2009 Black Saturday fires,” Ms McLeish said.

The technology has already been rolled out in the Yarra Valley and is expected to be completed in Murrindindi by 2019 and Mansfield by 2023.

“REFCL limits the amount of energy released when an earth fault occurs such as a downed powerline or wildlife touching the pole and powerline at the same time.”

“When a fault occurs, REFCL detects and limits the energy flow within a tenth of a second. This reduces the possibility of a fire being started, or of a person or animal nearby receiving an electric shock,” Ms McLeish said.

Ms McLeish said that local residents can expect planned outages to occur during the rollout as power will need to be temporarily cut to install and test the technology safely.

AusNet Services will notify customers well in advance of any planned outages. Customers can also keep informed through AusNet Services’ Outage Tracker, which provides detailed information about power interruptions, including expected restoration time.

Customers will also receive outage updates via SMS if they have registered their mobile number with their electricity retailer. Once the technology is installed, the devices will undergo testing. During this phase, there is a small possibility there may be unplanned power interruptions.

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