As a property owner you are responsible for managing privately owned electricity assets on your property (and not just those behind your meter). It is important that these assets are safely maintained with regular inspections undertaken by qualified people to ensure you keep your family and community safe.
Bushfire safety guide for private electricity asset owners
SA Power Networks installs, operates and maintains the Stobie poles, powerlines and other electricity assets required to safely bring electricity to the connection point on your property. From the connection point, any poles, powerlines, and other electrical assets on your property which belong to you require regular inspection and maintenance, in the same way you look after the wiring in your home or your vehicle.
This connection point is usually on a building or a pole. These are also referred to as private mains, private supply [note: in the Electricity Act this term refers to SA Power Networks owned lines], or private assets or an electrical installation. They usually start at the first pole on your property and include powerlines between different buildings and structures on the same property.
It is your responsibility to ensure that these electricity assets are properly maintained and comply with AS3000 Wiring Rules and do not pose a bushfire or safety risk.
Check for hazards
You are required to regularly inspect and properly maintain 0ivately owned poles and overhead powerlines s. This work should be undertaken by a suitably licenced inspector and/or authorised electrician. If you spot any of these common defects, you will need to arrange for repairs or tree trimming with an authorised contractor without delay.
- ensure trees and vegetation are not overhanging or close enough to make contact with overhead powerlines.
- ensure lines don’t clash in high winds - clashing powerlines can spark and produce fragments, which may fall to the ground and create a fire-start risk.
- damaged or low hanging powerlines may breach minimum height safety requirements.
- rusted, rotting or split poles should be inspected above and below ground for deterioration. Damage can cause poles to lean or fall.
What are your responsibilities
As an electrical asset owner, you have a duty of care to your community to ensure your electrical installations are safe and properly maintained. SA Power Networks recommends you regularly organise qualified people to inspect your assets:
- annually, before each bushfire season
- after major storms, or
- if you suspect any damage or deterioration has occurred.
This may include:
- organising a licensed electrician to regularly inspect, maintain and, where necessary, repair electricity equipment without delay;
- engaging a qualified tree trimming contractor to maintain safe clearances between trees and electricity assets.
Understanding your liability
You are responsible for electricity assets owned by you on your property. This means that should they trigger an incident because they haven’t been adequately inspected and maintained you may be liable for the damages and the costs associated with any losses that may stem from an asset failure.
SA Power Networks will from time to time inspect privately owned assets to which its electrical assets are attached. This doesn’t in any way limit the responsibilities of the private owner of electrical assets to inspect and maintain their privately owned assets, as described above,
For example, in a recent case in Western Australia, the court judged that a property owner was held liable for part of the damages that resulted from a bushfire, which started at a private pole that had not been maintained properly by that property owner.
If you are still unsure about your obligations regarding powerlines, or unsure if powerlines on your property belong to you, please get in touch.