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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2010 ..



ActewAGL has advised that there have been a number of unplanned, small and large-area outages in the Forrest, Deakin and Yarralumla areas. It has also advised that these have been substantially due to circumstances beyond the direct control of ActewAGL. The cause of these outages has included the bushfires of January 2003 and a possum causing a fault at the top of a power pole.

There was a report identifying a flock of birds on power lines that caused conductors to clash; a rodent causing a fire in a ground mounted substation; cable excavation by a subcontractor; trees being blown into power lines in heavy winds. In all recent cases, it has been assessed that in calm conditions the culprit branches and trees were outside the prescribed clearance area. There has also been equipment failure, including cable and insulator failure.

ActewAGL has undertaken substantial steps to address the ongoing issues in the Forrest, Deakin and Yarralumla areas. These include the entire length of two high-voltage feeders supplying the area being inspected and maintained. Over a period of almost three months ActewAGL linesmen undertook a close-up inspection of every pole and termination point along these feeders. Any potential issues have been identified. All trees were inspected to ensure that they were at least 2 metres clear of the lines, as defined in the Utilities Network (Public Safety) Regulations of 2001. All this work was completed by the beginning of this month.

There has also been an evaluation of cable condition. Monitoring of equipment was undertaken. The equipment did not prove to be successful in identifying any potential failures in cable. There has been the replacement of a T-joint in a switching station and the installation of sectionalisers-we all know what they are-in an urban area in order to improve fault restoration and to minimise affected areas. I suppose sectionalisers isolate areas. These are planned to be installed on 25 and 28 June of this year.

Further to your question: I think there was a particular outage in Forrest yesterday. A New South Wales Crescent feeder went down at 8.51 am and was fully restored at 9.40 am. I am told that the cause of the cable failure was a termination fault. That can stop it! Supply was restored in stages, as follows: 50 per cent back by 9.20 am; a further 20 per cent back by 9.37 am; and fully back by 9.40 am.

If, Mr Cornwell, you would like a full brief on the actions which have been undertaken by ActewAGL to minimise power failures in these areas, I am happy to facilitate a briefing by ActewAGL.

Public Interest Disclosure Act

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Chief Minister and is in regard to the Public Interest Disclosure Act. Chief Minister, you would be well aware of concerns raised about operations of the University of Canberra and the university union over the past few years, which have included allegations of fraud and mismanagement, some of which were confirmed in the Auditor-General's report released yesterday. You will also recall that the university, for some time, argued fairly emphatically that the Public Interest Disclosure Act did not apply to it but, after the issue was raised in the Assembly, it did finally concede to behave from that point as if the PID Act did apply.

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