Bushfire preparation for 2024-25 season

15 February 2024

Essential Energy teams are already beginning to prepare for the 2024-25 bushfire season by inspecting its powerlines where there is a risk of bushfire impacting crucial infrastructure.

With a footprint that covers 737,000 square kilometres across regional, rural and remote NSW and parts of southern Queensland, Essential Energy’s network overlaps with some of the highest risk bushfire zones in the State.

Essential Energy’s Chief Operating Officer Luke Jenner says that the inspecting of powerline corridors for defects and undertaking preventative vegetation management work ahead of the bushfire season is critical to the organisation’s comprehensive Bushfire Risk Management Plan.

“Managing the risk of bushfires is an important part of keeping the network safe and reliable for the customers and communities served by Essential Energy.

“Essential Energy’s Bushfire Risk Management Plan outlines how we proactively manage our network to avoid inadvertently causing a bushfire which could impact our communities. It also manages the risk of bushfires impacting our network, which in turn would interrupt power supply to our communities,” Luke says.

“We use light aircraft that fly at low attitude to visually inspect powerlines that are within our highest risk bushfire areas, and we look for any defects on our assets or any vegetation that may come in contact with our assets so we can address those things prior to the start of the bushfire season.”

Essential Energy also use drones, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and satellite technology to assess where vegetation may impact any electrical assets.

A key part of the bushfire management plan is to ensure that vegetation is clear of the powerlines.

“Vegetation poses a number of risks to the network, with the most obvious one being vegetation growing too close to powerlines. If vegetation touches the network, it can spark a fire. The less obvious one is the proximity of trees to the powerlines that can blow over in high winds. So we need to be very diligent to look for dead, dying or diseased trees that could fall onto the powerlines and potentially start a fire,” Luke explains.

The plan is outlined in Essential Energy’s annual Electricity Network Safety Management System Performance and Bushfire Preparedness Report, which is published on the company’s website.

Watch the video below to learn more about Essential Energy’s Bushfire Risk Management Plan.

For more information about aerial inspections and when they are happening in your area, visit essentialenergy.com.au/aerial.