“Western Power must give a grace period to allow people to get a replacement before leaving them in a dead end.”
Haye said one subcontractor told her she was shutting down seven properties a week because of security concerns about private pillars, and she was concerned about how many people would be affected.
In Darlington, a woman named Elizabeth also called 6PR and said she had a similar problem.
She said the Western Power emergency response team came to her property and told her they were disconnecting her from the electricity until their pole was replaced.
“We have four children and we had to try to install a new pole,” she said.
Western Power’s executive asset manager Zane Christmas said the company launched a program to inspect private power poles following a court ruling over the Parkerville fires, where Western Power was found responsible after failing to inspect a private power pole that fell and sparkled. flame.
“What we are doing is notifying customers before we begin the audit to inform them of their legal obligations with respect to these private poles and to inform them that we will be there,” he told Radio 6PR. .
“The last resort is to turn off the power to customers, and in a general sense we give notice … but if we find something very urgent or life-threatening, we are obliged to turn it off immediately, and unfortunately in these cases there is no notice ».
He said customers were offered policies in case of difficulty to help them deal with the thousands of dollars that often cost to get their electricity back.
Christmas said he would rather disconnect the customer than repeat the 2014 Parkerville fires that destroyed 57 homes.
“We would never like to see a repeat of Parkerville’s example, so in particular, where there is a high risk of fire, public safety is an absolute priority,” he said.
Parkerville fire burned between 12 January and 1 February 2014 and affected 189 people living in Shira Mandaring.
An EnergySafety report on the causes of the fire found that the wildfire came from a private pole at 180 Granite Road, Parkerville.
Western Power initially avoided any liability in a previous court decision from 2019, but in 2021 several parties involved in the case filed appeals and cross-appeals, and the new decision returned most of the responsibility to Western Power.
“Western Power has violated this duty of care by not having a system for periodically inspecting wooden fasteners owned by consumers and used to maintain electrical appliances that are part of the Western Power distribution system,” the decision said.
“This breach of duty resulted in losses and damages suffered by the plaintiffs as a result of a forest fire that broke out due to a destroyed software pole … which was used to maintain live electrical appliances that are part of the Western Power distribution system.
“Western Power’s breach of duty continued for many years, during which it had no system for periodically inspecting the anchorage points and during which deterioration of the software pole was detected during the inspection.”
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