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Final report published on Powercor Wood Pole Management

Energy Safe Victoria has published its final report into the long term sustainability of Powercor’s wooden pole inspection, maintenance and replacement arrangements.

The report examined Powercor’s end-to-end asset management of wooden power poles, including inspection, maintenance and replacement.

ESV has also published community submissions and our response to the submissions.

The report found that Powercor’s asset management practices in place at the time of the 2018 St Patrick’s Day fires were inadequate to deliver long-term safety outcomes.

Further, changes made by Powercor in the aftermath of the 2018 fires, which increased the volume of pole replacements and reinforcements, were insufficient to deliver long-term safety outcomes.

ESV has concluded that to reduce the long-term risk of power poles failing and the associated threat to community safety, Powercor must implement a series of recommendations.

The recommendations include:

  • improving inspection practice and rigour
  • improving the training of power pole inspectors and clarifying their responsibilities
  • better methodology to predict the likelihood of pole failure over time, particularly in high bushfire risk areas
  • take cognisance of the consequence of failure when assessing poles for replacement by implementing risk-based asset management
  • explore options for technology that will improve the accuracy of pole condition assessments.

ESV will hold Powercor to account for meeting each of these recommendations, ensuring pole replacement strategies are incorporated into its Bushfire Mitigation Plans (BMPs). It is an offence not to comply with an accepted BMP.

Read the Powercor Wood Pole Management – Public Technical Report.