Ergon warns landholders to take care with burn offs
WITH the bushfire season under way, Ergon is asking landholders to exercise care if planning a burn-off.
There is a heightened bushfire risk to Ergon's assets again year this with very dry conditions in many areas, including some areas where flooding has created abundant fuel.
Executive general manager operations Peter Billing said while the number of fire related electrical incidents had dropped by 15% from 2011/12 to 2012/13, the number of power poles destroyed by fire during that period had risen from 229 to 251 across Ergon's regional Queensland supply area.
"In the past financial year this means nearly 10,000 customers lost supply due to fire related activity on average for around 5.9 hours. In financial terms of having to replace damaged or destroyed equipment this meant an impost on Ergon Energy's bottom line of around $2 million."
Ergon Energy has over one million power poles across regional Queensland.
The statistics are measured across a number of categories including bushfire, grass fire, landowner burn off, lightning and pole related.
Mr Billing said it was pleasing to see the landowner burn off category had been on the decline over the financial years with just seven poles destroyed by property owner burn offs across regional Queensland last financial year.
"It would appear from the figures that the property owners are heeding the messages we put out annually about controlled burns. This responsible approach not only has a positive impact on supply to the property owners but also that of the broader community" he said.
"Following favourable wet seasons in some parts of the State, there is an abundance of on ground fuel and a heightened level of alert for Ergon Energy, fire authorities and property owners alike" he said.
Ergon Energy relies on the support and assistance from the community which often helps to reduce the impact on the wider community.
If you are intending to burn off firstly ensure:
You have a permit to do so, the conditions are favourable and adhere to all permit conditions
Heed all fire bans that may be in place at the time and clear around any power poles that may be on your property that could be set alight during a burn off.
If you see a pole alight, advise Ergon Energy and the fire authorities by dialling 000 and attempt to put the fire out if it is safe to do and is contained to the lower base area of the pole.
Traditionally the dry winter period creates a lot of fuel on the ground and a need for controlled burning in many areas.
"The message we want to get across to landholders is that if they intend burning off, please be aware of any power structures that may be on or near their properties" Mr Billing said.
Customers can obtain further advice or clarification by contacting Ergon Energy on 131046.