Powercor has recruited five new field workers in the south-west and will launch a full-time roster servicing the Apollo Bay region next month as part of ongoing work to improve the area’s power safety and reliability.
Three line workers and two apprentices will fill five of the seven new roles, and recruitment will continue early next year for the remaining two positions.
An additional two trucks and other specialist equipment have been positioned in Colac.
The improvements are part of Powercor’s decision to replace a small team of contractors with an increased in-house field team in the south-west area.
Head of Field Services, Ross Young, said the changes would allow Powercor to better respond to any type of power situation.
“Recruitment is progressing strongly, and we are increasing our Colac and Warrnambool teams so we can maintain and improve how we are servicing the south-west communities,” Mr Young said.
“These improvements are about expanding our Powercor teams and the local fleet so we have the right resources in place to respond quickly if problems occur.
“By taking these steps, we are ensuring we have the right support and response now and for the long term.”
Central Power, the current contractor servicing the area, has been supporting Powercor during the transition and will finish in early December. From early December, Apollo Bay and the surrounding region will be serviced by a 24/7 roster of Colac-based crews.
“Our focus is always on restoring power to customers as safely and as quickly as possible when an outage occurs,” Mr Young said.
“By making these changes, we will be able to provide the full range of services needed locally, which our contractors were not always able to provide,” Mr Young said.
“It is important to highlight that response times differ according to what is happening across our networks as well as what’s caused the outage.
“Community members already see our Powercor crews from Colac responding to faults, patrolling the lines and restoring network damage caused by extreme weather events.
“For example, when a tree brings down a power pole or lightning damages a cross-arm and this affects power to Apollo Bay, the current contractors do not fix these types of faults.
Instead, it’s our Colac teams that respond as they have the resources and specialist equipment needed to complete this work.”
These improvements build on the extensive work already conducted to strengthen the area’s power supply.
In the past two years, in-house Powercor crews have dramatically increased the number of regular inspections, maintenance and repair works conducted locally and on the feeder lines that supply Apollo Bay, originating in Colac.
“Apollo Bay is also benefitting from an extensive network of safety devices on the powerlines, the development of new and better ways of doing things to suit the local terrain, like using drones for pole top asset inspections and new technologies that monitor faults and automatically respond to keep power flowing as much as possible,” Mr Young said.