03 August 2020
Ausgrid paused all live work on our network following the tragic death of one of our team last year.
We did this so we could review all tasks performed live and implement additional safety controls where necessary (Live Work Project). We have a dedicated Project Team leading the Live Work Project, and are returning to live work progressively, in stages.
Live work changes to support our customers and employees during COVID-19
We have made some important changes to the way live work is planned and performed to help support our employees and minimise disruption to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following changes to the community impact assessment (in question 2 of the ‘Assessment of whether work should be carried out live or de-energised’) in section 9.5.1 of the Electrical Safety Rules (ESR) mean that we will be able to perform critical work with fewer interruptions and less inconvenience to our customers while they are still working and learning from home.
Temporary change to community impact assessments for residential customers
- Effective immediately, the community impact assessment threshold for residential customers is reduced from thirty (30) to five (5).
- This means that an interruption to five or more residential customers is regarded as a material or disproportionate impact to the community.
- This temporary change will be withdrawn (and the threshold for residential customers will return to 30) on a date to be advised, when the impact of COVID-19 on our customers has suitably reduced.
Permanent exemption from the community impact assessment for all streetlighting repairs and maintenance
- Effective immediately, there is a permanent exemption to the community impact assessment for all streetlighting repairs and maintenance.
- This means that the community impact assessment (question 2 in section 9.5.1 of the ESR) is not required for streetlighting repair and maintenance work where the work can be carried out without the worker passing uninsulated parts of their body or any uninsulated material between live exposed low voltage conductors. This work is permitted to be performed live, as long as the live work controls can be achieved and the work can be carried out safely.
- This change has been made in response to feedback from our employees and customers. It will assist in reducing the time for Ausgrid to address repairs that were previously delayed during the pause on live work and, in many instances, remove the need to inconvenience customers with an outage to their supply while we complete this important work.
Live Work Project update
From 20 December 2019, appropriately trained and authorised Ausgrid employees, contractors and Accredited Service Providers (ASPs) were able to perform overhead and extra low voltage (ELV) (0-25Vac and 0-60Vdc) Stage 1 Live Work Tasks with the required critical controls in place.
From 26 March 2020, appropriately trained and authorised Ausgrid employees, contractors and ASPs were able to perform substation and underground Stage 1 Live Work Tasks with the required critical controls in place.
From 29 May 2020, appropriately trained and authorised Ausgrid employees were able to perform the following Stage 2 Live Work Tasks with the required critical controls in place:
- work on or near ELV (25-50V nominal AC, 60-120V nominal DC) exposed conductors; and
- connecting a mobile generator to the low voltage (LV) network.
From 9 July 2020, suitably authorised employees, contractors and ASPs will be able to perform the following Stage 2 Live Work Tasks:
- work on or near ELV (25-50V nominal AC, 60-120V nominal DC) exposed conductors
- connecting a mobile generator to the LV network;
- connecting temporary measuring and recording instruments to the low voltage network;
- cable pulling into live underground assets;
- installing or removing low voltage equipment (fuses, links and spreaders) excluding conductor re-tensioning;
- maintaining or repairing low voltage overhead conductors and accessories;
- maintaining or repairing low voltage underground conductors and accessories; and
- working on isolated high voltage assets above live low voltage (within minimum safe working distances).
We have completed all risk assessments, training content, updates to the Low Voltage Live Work Manual and updates to Safe Work Method Statements required for these Stage 2 Live Work Tasks to be performed live.
The Stage 2 Live Work Tasks will be added to Appendix A of the Electricity Safety Rules.
We are grateful to our customers, the community and our employees for their patience during this important process.