Horizon Power crews attend hundreds of incidents each year which are the result of private machinery operators and members of the public causing damage to Horizon Power assets.
David Tovey, General Manager Corporate Services, says the safety of the community is Horizon Power’s number one priority.
"We need to work together to ensure we all remain safe around electricity, and that includes looking after the safety of regional communities, including our own staff and to minimise the potential risk of damage to homes and businesses," he said.
Since January 2017, Horizon Power has recorded more than 100 incidents in which a third party has damaged overhead power infrastructure, such as a forklift breaking an overhead conductor, people trimming their own trees and cutting service wires, and people crashing into electrical assets with their vehicles.
"Not only do these incidents cause potential safety risks, but they can also result in wider power outages in the community until the damage is repaired," said Mr Tovey.
In an incident earlier this month, a powerline was taken down by a high load vehicle, but what was of most concern was that a member of the public, not one of our qualified distribution workers, rolled up the live wire and secured it to a nearby tree.
"This incident was dangerous in so many ways, and we are just so relieved that no one was injured as a result," Mr Tovey said.
"Not only was this incident not reported immediately, but the person left the vehicle, approached the wire, actually picked up the wire and by attaching it a tree, increased the risk to others.
"We are asking people to pay special attention to overhead electrical infrastructure when driving oversize vehicles, carrying high loads, using farming equipment or towing boats," Mr Tovey said.
If a person is in a vehicle and the vehicle has pulled down a power line, they should remain in the vehicle and call Horizon Power’s fault line. They should not exit the vehicle as it is possible that the ground surrounding the vehicle is live as a result of the live power line connecting with the ground and/or surrounding vegetation. In many cases, Horizon Power can deactivate the line remotely before crews even arrive at the scene.
All fallen power lines should be treated as live and it is important that other people also be kept at least 10 metres clear of the vehicle and the power line until Horizon Power has either confirmed that the line has been de-energised remotely or has arrived at the scene to make it safe.
If such an incident occurs in a public place such as town site, the police and the local Shire should be contacted as well so that the area can be cordoned off, particularly if it is a remote town and Horizon Power crews cannot get there immediately.
Horizon Power has simple safety advice for people encountering fallen powerlines which have the potential to cause an electric shock, electrocution, or cause property damage.
- Always assume that a fallen powerline is live
- Keep well clear and others safe – stay at least 10m from any fallen powerlines.
- Call Horizon Power on 13 23 51.
- Wait for Horizon Power to attend and make the area safe.
General tips to stay safe around overhead powerlines
Horizon Power encourages everyone to stay safe around overhead powerlines by following some simple guidelines to minimise the risk of electrocution.
- If you notice a powerline that hangs low or has fallen to the ground, stay at least 10 metres away and call us immediately on 13 23 51.
- Never attempt to rescue anything caught in powerlines.
- Encourage children to play in an area clear of powerlines.
- If working near powerlines, contact your local Horizon Power office before starting work to ensure you maintain the minimum safe approach distances.
- Use a licensed tree trimmer to prune trees and vegetation which has grown too close to powerlines.
- If you’re working at heights, always check for overhead powerlines before starting any work.
- Pay special attention to overhead electricity infrastructure when driving oversize vehicles, carrying high loads, using farming equipment or towing boats.
Always report any electrical incidents or faults immediately to Horizon Power by telephoning 13 23 51.
In an emergency dial 000 for help.
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For more information contact Horizon Power media line on 1800 799 745