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ESV releases annual Victorian electricity network safety report

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has released its Safety Performance Report on Victorian Electricity Networks for 2022.

The report outlines how Victoria’s electricity distribution and transmission companies have met their safety objectives. The report covers: AusNet Services, Basslink, CitiPower, Jemena, Powercor, United Energy and TransGrid.

During 2021-22, there was one death and three serious injuries associated with Victoria’s electricity networks, continuing a trend of low fatality and serious injury occurrences over the past decade.

  • On 5 February 2022, a vegetation management worker died from electrocution when the pole he was using to remove branches from a tree canopy made contact with high voltage powerlines.
  • On 20 December 2021, a truck driver loading cattle onto a two-level cattle truck in Stony Creek, South Gippsland, was seriously injured when his head made contact with an overhead powerline.
  • On 5 January 2022, a member of the public was seriously injured after coming into contact with 66 kV overhead powerlines, while trying to retrieve his drone.
  • On 9 May 2022, the operator of an agricultural self-propelled sprayer at Kinypanial was seriously injured when the sprayer made contact with an overhead powerline.

In response to these incidents, ESV continues to promote its Look Up and Live campaign, working alongside major electricity companies and WorkSafe.

Work is progressing on the development of technological interventions, such as the installation of non-contact voltage-detecting equipment on vehicles and mobile plant.

ESV is also taking enforcement action against No Go Zone breaches.

Vegetation management

Continued wet weather has reduced the fire risk. However, this has led to rapid vegetation growth, which has required major electricity companies to adapt their vegetation management programs to meet clearance obligations.

ESV continues to monitor and ensure Victorian councils reduce vegetation management non-compliance with two of the three worst performing councils significantly improving over the past 12 months.

Bushfire management

ESV investigated the wooden power pole inspection and replacement practices of AusNet Services, following a similar investigation into Powercor’s program.

The investigation report was published in February 2022 and made several recommendations that would ensure the sustainability of AusNet’s wood pole management practices into the future

ESV continues to work with the Victorian Government to ensure bushfire mitigation through the implementation of rapid earth fault current limiter (REFCL) technology.

The current program is on track to be fully deployed by May 2023.

Click here to read the report