Probe into toppled power towers

By Karen Sweeney
Updated November 7 2012 - 3:20am, first published January 13 2010 - 11:05am
DOWN: Investigators check on storm damage near Pyramid Hill.
DOWN: Investigators check on storm damage near Pyramid Hill.

THE collapse in strong winds of five 220,000V transmission towers on private property near Pyramid Hill is being investigated.A row of the 31m tall towers along the Pyramid Yarraberb Road toppled about 4pm on Tuesday, coming down on private property as well as across a road and a water-filled irrigation channel.It happened as strong winds swept across the district on what was the region’s first code red fire day.Electricity company SP Ausnet has sent engineers to the site to start their investigation, with the State Government promising that findings would be made public.A company spokeswoman described the incident as a rare and unusual event.“SP Ausnet crews were immediately mobilised to the area, the first priority being to make the areas safe, with the lines de-energised straight away,” she said.“There was no loss of power supply and we don’t anticipate any impact on electricity. However, crews are working to restore the service as quickly as possible.”A crew in Dingee started construction on the first of the five new towers yesterday afternoon.Last year SP Ausnet came under investigation after one of its defective powerlines collapsed at Kilmore on Black Saturday, sparking a blaze that killed 119 people. This time it is believed severe localised storms may have played a part in the collapse of the towers.Shortly before the towers collapsed the Bureau of Meteorology issued severe storm warnings for damaging winds and hail.Boort police officer Senior Constable Ray Stoneman said the storm hit about 4pm, causing damage to a number of properties as well as bringing down trees and power lines. “Obviously they were very strong winds and I emphasise very strong.” Powercor crews were also sent to replace power poles along a section of Prairie Road just outside the town.Alan Carson owns a property halfway between Prairie and Calivil, and he spent much of yesterday morning fixing fences.He was at his home in Eaglehawk when he heard about the storm and made his way out to assess the damage.“There are still lots of trees down along the road,” he said.“I got back here about 7pm and just started to clean up.Farmer Paul Diss has also been left counting the cost after the storm left a trail of destruction on his property.He lost farm equipment and trees in what he described as a mini tornado.“You could see the clouds coming, but it looked like it was going north-east. I thought we’d be OK here,” he said.“But it changed direction and came through, and it’s done all this damage.”Falling trees narrowly missed powerlines on Mr Diss’s property, but a $15,000 auger wasn’t so lucky.“It got blown over in the wind and now it’s bent over like a banana,” he said.“It destroyed my brother’s fence around his house in Prairie too ─ the wind must have picked up the kids’ cubby house and blown it through the fence.”Mr Diss said the worst of the storm lasted about five minutes.“Mostly it was heavy rain. It damaged a lot though, it was pretty savage.”The storm also caused power outages between Calivil and Dingee.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

$0/

(min cost $0)

or signup to continue reading

See subscription options

Get the latest Bendigo news in your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our Privacy Policy.