Preliminary work on the $2m Ergon Gemfields feeder upgrade (QLD) has begun with construction of a new 22km section of the feeder that supplies 1,555 customers in the Gemfield and surrounding rural area.

Customer Delivery Manager for Fitzroy, Brian Dingle, said work on the Gemfields feeder upgrade also includes line clearing and delivery of poles to site.

“People travelling along the Capricorn Highway may have already seen some activity associated with this line but essentially what we are doing is relocating the first section of the line at the start of the feeder to run adjacent to the Highway. Over the years this section of line has been the subject of numerous weather related events and bird strikes that have in the main been the cause of significant disruption to customers supplied by this line.”

“We are not saying this will solve all outages but having this section of line closer to the Highway, will improve reliability and in the event of a fault, improve response and restoration times” he said.

Several remote controlled switches will also be installed to further enhance response times to power outages.

In Emerald itself, Ergon also has three exit feeder upgrades going on at the Emerald zone substation. Steady load growth to the east and south eastern side of the river has been the catalyst for these upgrades.

Mr Dingle said the exit cable upgrades will allow greater load shift capabilities on the town distribution network and also allow power to be fed from Emerald to Capella in emergency situations.

“As part of these upgrades, residents in west Emerald may also notice some reconductoring work occurring in their area.”

Work is expected to be completed on both projects late this year before the start of the storm season.

“Despite the softening in the mining industry and the ongoing drought conditions, the facilitation of these projects demonstrates Ergon’s commitment to western rural customers” Mr Dingle said.

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