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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

New Powercor technology to prevent fires approved

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's local weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

Technology installed by Powercor to help prevent bushfires in the Ararat district has passed its final test and been approved by Victoria’s energy safety regulator.

Powercor has received confirmation from Energy Safety Victoria that the Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) installed at the Ararat zone substation is fully compliant.

PHOTO: Powercor

The device was first switched on in December last year and has been operating on its most sensitive setting on Total Fire Ban Days since, but the compliance approval now marks the final stage of the Ararat installation.

Powercor REFCL technical director Andrew Bailey, said Ararat was one of 10 zone substations across the Powercor network to now have the device installed.

“The REFCL device is part of our broader bushfire mitigation program and is already keeping communities safer,” Mr Bailey said.

“While the Ararat safety device is in operation all year round, on days of Total Fire Ban it operates at heightened fault sensitivity, in line with regulatory requirements.”

The technology works like a large safety switch and reduces the likelihood of a fire starting if a powerline comes in contact with the ground or a tree limb.

When the device is activated, crews patrol the line to determine the cause of the fault and ensure it is safe for the community before power is restored.

“While this can mean it can take longer to restore a fault on a Total Fire Ban day, it also is providing added protection to communities and reducing the risk of fires starting from powerlines,” Mr Bailey said.

The devices are being installed in the state’s highest bushfire-risk areas in response to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations.

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