Voltage review underway for bushfire mitigation

Victoria’s energy regulator is moving to review voltage standards applying to power lines so measures can be put in place to reduce bushfire risk from electricity networks.

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) is reviewing the state’s electricity distribution code in response to recommendations by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission for new equipment to be installed in high bushfire risk areas.

The equipment, known as rapid earth fault current limiters (REFCLs), is required to be installed at 45 substations across the state as a result of changes to the state’s bushfire mitigation regulations in 2016.

“The equipment is designed to reduce the amount of power flowing through a fallen power line to prevent electrical sparks igniting a fire during extreme weather,” the ESC said in a statement.

“The commission is now reviewing its electricity distribution code, specifically focusing on voltage standards.

“The review is needed so distributors can operate the equipment in accordance with bushfire mitigation requirements without breaching the code.”

The review will be conducted in the next six months.