Wet weather requires greater safety around electricity

30 November 2022

The latest electricity network safety report released by Essential Energy today, confirms the organisation’s ongoing focus on safety. The Electricity Network Safety Management System (ENSMS) Performance and Bushfire Preparedness Report also outlines the significant activities to prepare the organisation for the 2022/23 bushfire season.

The latest Report provides the outcomes of the ENSMS which aims to mitigate safety risks associated with the electricity network that Essential Energy is responsible for, which covers 95% of NSW and provides power to more than 880,000 individual homes and businesses.

Essential Energy’s ENSMS supports continuous improvement in all aspects of safety performance and practice and is deployed in harmony with other key management systems to ensure whole-of-business safety focus. The report covers the annual safety performance for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 and the bushfire preparedness for the period 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022.

The Report details incidents, asset and vegetation management activities, the number of inspections undertaken, and remedial tasks identified and completed. The Report also provides information on how Essential Energy has prepared for the bushfire season and highlights the importance of public safety campaigns to promote local community safety around the network. This year, the organisation collaborated even further with SafeWork NSW, NSW Farmers, and Women in Agriculture to deliver targeted messages to key at-risk groups like agribusiness.

With a footprint that covers 737,000 square kilometres across regional NSW and parts of southern Queensland, the network overlaps with some of the highest risk bushfire zones in the State. Managing the risk of bushfires is another important part of keeping the network safe and reliable for the customers and communities served by Essential Energy.

The period under analysis has been characterised by a continuing La Nina, and record-breaking floods throughout the network as well as severe storms and other events. According to our analysis we have lost 5% of available asset and vegetation management task labour hours to wet weather in FY2022.

The continuing wet weather and wet ground is also believed to have contributed to an increase of trees or branches falling into powerlines, as well as impacting our ability to access and complete tasks. A copy of the report is available on our website.