Powerlink workers onsite maintaining key infrastructure. FILE PHOTO
Powerlink workers onsite maintaining key infrastructure. FILE PHOTO Marc Grimwade

High-voltage crew coming to Gympie to work on live equipment

THE only electrical crew trained to work on live high-voltage substation equipment in Australia will working around 275 kilovolts at two Powerlink substations, one of them near Gympie, next week.

The unique 10-person crew will head to the Woolooga substation from next week, completing "essential maintenance” on live equipment beginning next Tuesday.

The operation will last 10 days, due to finish on September 13.

State Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the crew was the only expert team of its kind in Australia.

"Doing maintenance while high voltage transmission equipment is still live is highly specialised work,” Dr Lynham said.

"It minimises power supply impacts on electricity customers because it reduces the need for planned outages.

"Queenslanders' publicly-owned transmission company, Powerlink, is the only transmission utility in Australia to use these innovative live work techniques.”

Live work specialists use a "hot stick” - a long insulated pole that extends several metres in the air with different attachments - to complete the maintenance.

They are woking at the Teebar substation near Maryborough this week.

Powerlink Executive General Manager Operations and Service Delivery Gary Edwards said the live substation team was highly experienced.

"Powerlink crews have been carrying out live work for 18 years throughout Queensland to maintain safety and reliability of the transmission network.”

This year's maintenance schedule will see live work being undertaken all over the state, from Cairns to the Darling Downs.