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Image source: Fire & Rescue NSW

Transgrid to launch investigation into Dapto substation fire

Australia: Transgrid will launch an investigation into the cause of the massive fire that engulfed one of its power substation transformers at Dapto on 18 June.

However, the company’s general manager of maintenance Ian Davidson said it had to wait until the fire is completely out before any work to understand what happened.

He said the unit – which is one of four transformers at the Yallah substation – would be pulled apart and the investigation process would take some time.

He said the fire was unlikely to have been caused by any stress on the electricity grid or the broader Australian power supply crisis.

“We have four of these transformers [at the site] and we are not overloading them or running them beyond rating,” he said. “So, it was not under any undue stress or pressure.”

Davidson said he estimated that it would cost between $6 to $10 M to replace the unit, depending on how much surrounding infrastructure was damaged in the fire. He said these costs could be covered by the company’s usual asset replacement program, so this was unlikely to impact energy prices. The fire had been managed by Transgrid staff, and the substation system was designed to allow the power supply to continue even when one transformer was out of action.

“We have got capacity for four transformers for that site that allows us to pass supply to our customers, and our grid network is built to allow up to maintain our assets,” he said. “With the removal of one of those for maintenance, we can still provide our supply to customers. What that means in the event of a failure like the fire is that we can also still maintain supply. If we had another unit out for maintenance then you are starting to get to the pointy end of being able to have the power maintained. With two out of four gone, it is a problem.”

Davidson said there had been no chance of the fire burning through the whole substation, as they were designed to be separated.


Source: Illawarra Mercury