Aurora Energy is installing new pre-stressed concrete power poles to boost energy security to the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas in Tasmania. The move comes after last year’s bushfires caused a lengthy electricity outage in the area.
The new fire-resistant poles will provide back-up power supply after more than 750 poles were destroyed in the major bushfires of January 2013.
Aurora Energy crews restored power supply to all customers within two weeks of the fire last year by rebuilding one of the two wooden pole lines feeding the Peninsulas.
After lengthy research and a wait for an end to wet weather, the second feeder line is now being constructed south of Dunalley using the new fire-proof poles.
Chief Operating Officer for Distribution Warren Batchelor inspected the installation of the new poles.
“We continually trial new technologies to improve the performance and resilience of the distribution network and the second Dunalley feeder line was a chance try out fire-resistant concrete poles,’’ Mr Batchelor said.
“If a similar bushfire occurred again, these fire-retardant poles will enable a faster restoration of supply, providing comfort to customers in places such as Murdunna, Sommers Bay, Eaglehawk Neck, Nubeena, White Beach, Saltwater River, Slopen Main and Port Arthur.
“A lot of new technologies come at a price premium and Aurora is conscious of the costs we pass to customers because selecting technologies is always a trade-off between performance and cost.’’
Mr Batchelor said that a separate Aurora tender for Tasmania’s main electricity pole supply contract was in the final stages of evaluation.
Aurora Energy maintains about 190,000 wooden poles with an average life cycle of 55 years, plus 30,000 poles made of other materials.