Power and Water have reported that fruit bats caught within powerlines and high voltage power distribution equipment have been causing power interruptions in the Dundee area (NT).

Bats cluster around powerline insulators and form a bridge from conductor to steel cross-arms short-circuiting the high voltage system causing the power outage said Power Networks’ General Manager John Greenwood.

“If the power interruption is short, the bats have fallen away and the system can safely restore power.

“If this doesn’t happen, our crews have to go out and patrol the powerline to find and remove the fruit bats before power can be restored. The distribution line to Dundee Beach is around 100km long and well off the road, which means it can take quite some time to locate and isolate the problem,” he said.

Fruit bats are common when native plants are in flower and they move on once their food source runs out.

“Power and Water has a program in place to upgrade high voltage insulators on overhead powerlines, replacing them with longer post-top insulators. This provides greater clearance for birds and animals and makes the system more resistant to lightning strikes,” Mr Greenwood said.

The program is an ongoing effort to minimise power interruptions to customers.

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