Bushfire defence raised

The Lancefield-Cobaw fire. Photo: Penny Stephens/The Age

By Esther Lauaki

New technology will be used to protect parts of the Macedon Ranges from bushfires caused by power line failures.

Works were carried out in Malmsbury to prepare the network for a new bushfire protection device.

The device, called a Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter, is part of a bushfire mitigation program and its introduction, to be rolled out by electricity company Powercor, was one of the recommendations from the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.

It aims to reduce the risk of a powerline starting a fire by detecting when a powerline touches the ground or comes into contact with a tree branch, reducing the voltage to the line almost instantly.

Powercor technical director Andrew Bailey said: “Providing reliable, affordable and safe electricity is our number one priority and we work throughout the year to ensure the electricity network is ready for the bushfire season”.

“The introduction of this technology is one of the most significant changes made to our electricity network in more than 30 years and requires network upgrades and changes to allow the device to be successfully installed and operated.”

The bushfire safety device will provide protection to suburbs including Sutton Grange, Metcalfe, Malmsbury, Drummond North, Joyces Creek, Maldon and Ravenswood South.