News

Powercor to be investigated

By Country News

Electricity distributor Powercor is being investigated over possible law breaches following bushfires that destroyed homes and farm buildings in Victoria’s south-west.

Energy Safe Victoria is investigating two of the four St Patrick’s Day fires, which collectively destroyed at least 26 homes and 63 sheds in March.

The Terang blaze on March 17 was likely sparked when powerlines clashing or arcing in high winds sprayed the ground with molten material, the regulator said in a report on Monday last week.

‘‘The construction of the lines was not consistent with standards and did not allow sufficient clearance between electrical circuits during the wind event of that day,’’ it found.

ESV said the investigation would continue to determine the nature and extent of any regulatory breaches as well as possible enforcement action.

The Terang fire burned through at least 6500ha, destroying 18 homes and 45 sheds.

Similar action could be taken over another St Patrick’s Day fire near Garvoc, which involved the failure of a power pole.

‘‘(The investigation) involves complex forensic analysis and investigation and may take two or three months to complete,’’ the regulator said.

Blazes at Gazette and Gnotuk were sparked by vegetation and would not be investigated further.

Maddens Lawyers earlier launched class actions against Powercor over the Terang and Garvoc fires.