Powercor fined

By Country News

Electricity distributor Powercor has received a hefty fine after tree branches clashed with powerlines, starting fires across regional Victoria.

The company on Wednesday (April 10) was fined $374000 in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to 57 charges relating to failing to clear areas around powerlines, and three grass fires in January 2018.

Energy Safe Victoria prosecuted Powercor, noting vegetation must be a prescribed distance from powerlines to avoid the possibility of contact and a potential fire.

‘‘Victoria has suffered a number of significant fires resulting from vegetation coming into contact with powerlines,’’ Energy Safe Victoria spokesman Paul Fearon said.

‘‘As far as I am concerned, many of these were preventable fires.’’

The fires occurred last year near the townships of Rochester on January 6, Port Campbell on January 28, and Strathmerton on January 20.