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Restoration of Private Aerial Lines (PALs)

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As a result of the bushfires, some homes and properties in bushfire affected communities may have had private aerial lines (PALs) that supply electricity to their properties damaged or destroyed.

This guideline sets out ESV’s requirements for the reinstatement or reconstruction of PALs in hazardous bushfire risk areas. It includes special arrangements ESV may permit in order to assist bushfire victims to re-establish electricity supply at their properties as soon as possible.

Private aerial lines (PALs)

PALs are low voltage poles and wires located on private properties that form part of the electrical installation on the property. It originates at the point of supply where the electrical installation connects to the electricity distribution network.

Example: Private Aerial Line (PAL)

What to do when spans or poles along a line supporting wiring has been damaged or destroyed

Less than 20%

  • You may repair and reconstruct the damaged portions of the PAL and arrange a reconnection to supply.
  • When carrying out the repair and reconstruction you must ensure the line complies with the construction requirements in the regulations.
    • If the PAL is horizontally constructed with bare open wire conductors, it must have a conductor spreader fitted to each span of conductor in a manner that effectively prevents the conductors from clashing; and
    • The PAL must be protected at its origin with an over-current protective device (other than a fuse link) that operates in all active conductors and can be operated from the ground. This is achieved by fitting a circuit breaker and supply protection assembly 4m from the ground, as required by the distribution company’s Service and Installation Rules.

More than 20%

  • The reconstructed PAL must be placed underground, or
  • Subject to an assessment, ESV may permit a PAL damaged or destroyed by bushfire to be replaced – provided the PAL poles are not defective and the reconstructed line complies with the following requirements.
    • The line, in its entirety, is comprised of Aerial Bundled Cable (ABC).
    • The line is protected at its origin with an over-current protective device (other than a fuse link) that operates in all active conductors and can be operated from the ground. This is achieved by fitting a circuit breaker and supply protection assembly 4m from the ground as required by the distribution company’s Service and Installation Rules.
  • You must contact ESV to apply for a regulation 701 exemption before reconstructing a PAL using ABC.

Private Service Lines (PSLs)

A PSL is a single span PAL connected to the distribution company assets (e.g. pole transformer) and a building or structure (other than a private pole) located on private land.

Example: Private Service Line (PSL)

If a PSL has been damaged or destroyed

  • The PSL may be replaced provided that the reconstructed line complies with the following requirements.
    • The new line is comprised of Aerial Bundled Cable (ABC); and
    • The new line is fitted with a break-away or cut-away device that is fitted at the point where the PSL is attached to the distribution company supply pole. Note: the break-away device must be approved by ESV); and
    • The line is protected at its origin with an over-current protective device (other than a fuse link) that operates in all active conductors and can be operated from the ground. This is achieved by fitting a circuit breaker and supply protection assembly 4m from the ground as required by the distribution company’s Service and Installation Rules.
  • Alternatively, the PSL may be installed underground.
  • If the PSL is located in an Electric Line Construction Area (ELCA), the PSL must be placed underground. Please contact ESV to find out if the PSL is located in an ELCA.

Temporary supply poles

  • If a home or building has been damaged or destroyed by bushfire, ESV may – subject to an assessment – permit the installation of a temporary supply pole.
  • You must contact ESV to apply for a Regulation 701 exemption before installing a temporary supply pole.
  • Any damaged or destroyed PAL or PSL that is to supply a temporary supply pole must be reconstructed in accordance with this guideline.
  • An exemption from ESV is required before a temporary supply is installed. The exemption will allow the temporary pole to remain in place for a period of up to two years. It will also require a review of the need for the pole to be conducted after the temporary supply has been in place for 12 months.

Certification and inspection

  • A Certificate of Electrical Safety (COES) must be issued to record fire damaged PAL reconstruction work. ESV will replace any such COES at no cost if submitted within two years (nominally 31 December 2021).
  • COES will be available at local electrical wholesalers or online via ESVConnect.
  • If you intend to install a temporary pole or reconstruct a PAL using ABC, a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) must apply for, and be granted, an exemption by ESV – as described by Electricity Safety (General) Regulation 701 – before starting work. ESV will waive the exemption application fee in cases where the exemption is required due to the impacts of bushfires.
  • A person who is responsible for the carrying out of prescribed electrical installation work must ensure that a Licensed Electrical Inspector (LEI) in accordance with the regulations inspects work before the electrical installation is connected to the electricity supply.