Essential Energy has emphasised that the safety of the public, the environment and the electricity distribution network must take priority when it comes to the maintenance of private power poles and powerlines.
Following recent media reports, Essential Energy has reaffirmed the obligations governing the tens of thousands of private poles on its 183,000-kilometre electricity network that covers 95 per cent of New South Wales.
Essential Energy General Manager Customer & Network Services, Luke Jenner said, “On private land, Essential Energy is responsible for maintaining and repairing the electricity network to the customer connection point, while beyond this point landowners are legally required to undertake network maintenance. This is similar to home and business owners being responsible for maintaining their premises’ internal wiring.”
Through its ongoing network inspection program, Essential Energy has identified defects on a number of privately-owned network installations and owners have been advised that they must arrange for rectification.
Essential Energy will undertake the work when the defect causes a bushfire or electrical safety risk, and rectification has not been undertaken by the owner within a set period of time. In these cases, Essential Energy is legally required to charge the customer for undertaking this work.
Mr Jenner said that community safety and network reliability are the organisation’s key priorities. “We have already seen the devastating impact of bushfires on our regional and rural communities. The laws we operate under balance landowners’ rights and public interest in minimising bushfire and safety risks.
“We are working closely with private pole owners and have provided detailed information to help them understand their obligations. This information is available on our website (www.essentialenergy.com.au/privateassets).”