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ESV embeds REFCL oversight and monitoring

ESV has developed the internal capacity to monitor the safe and efficient implementation of Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters (REFCLs). As such the Director has dissolved the Powerline Bushfire Safety Committee.

Formed in response to the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission after Black Saturday, the PBSC advised the Director of Energy Safety on the implementation and roll out of new technology to mitigate bushfire starts from electrical assets.

The PBSC’s most significant achievement has been its oversight of the safe and efficient introduction of Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiters (REFCLs) by distribution businesses in high bushfire risk areas.

ESV has now developed the capacity to take on the work of the PBSC internally. As such the Director has taken the decision to dissolve the PBSC and transfer oversight of the implementation of REFCLs to ESV’s Bushfire Mitigation team. The progress and performance of this program will be transparently and publicly reported through the ESV Annual Report, Network Safety Performance Report and the ESV website.

The PBSC has overseen the implementation of a technology that was previously untested in Australian conditions. While REFCLs cannot prevent all bushfires, their success means Victorian communities are safer.

Since its formation, all of the difficult technical issues associated with REFCL deployment have been solved. Furthermore, the body of engineering knowledge surrounding their deployment has improved significantly. Of the three tranches of REFCL to be deployed, Tranche 1 is completed, Tranche 2 is substantially deployed and Tranche 3 is underway.

As part of its transformation into a Commission, ESV is establishing a Technical Advisory Committee to provide it with specialist advice. That committee will have representation from the Victorian community as well industry and academia.

ESV will also retain access to external consultative expertise to support should the need arise.