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Progressing powerline bushfire safety
22 May 2018
The state’s energy regulator is proposing changes to electricity network rules to permit the use of new equipment aimed at reducing the risk of bushfires in parts of regional Victoria.
The proposal, to change voltage standards applying to powerlines, would allow distributors to operate new equipment in line with the amended bushfire mitigation regulations as recommended by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
The equipment – rapid earth fault current limiters or REFCLs – reduces the power flowing through a fallen power line to prevent electrical sparks igniting a fire during extreme weather.
The commission’s director of energy, Sarah McDowell says the proposed changes would allow one of the key recommendations of the royal commission to be implemented.
“Working with the networks and high voltage customers to understand the implications of the new technology helped us identify what needed to change.
“We are therefore proposing to introduce new voltage variation limits that only apply when REFCLs are operating,” she said.
We are now seeking feedback on the proposed changes before a final decision expected in August 2018.