Australia –The fact that five of Victorias 11 major bushfires that started on Black Saturday were ignited by failed electricity equipment, mostly power lines, highlights the need for improvements to electricity safety.
However, these improvements would come at a significant cost, that is, more than $20 billion to put electricity lines underground.
The Victorian Government, while confirming its commitment to electricity safety, is now disputing reports that electricity bills could rise as much as $740 each year for the next 10 years, if the government was to implement all the recommendations of the Black Saturday royal commission.
Energy Minister Michael OBrien says the government will wait until it receives the final report of the Powerline Bushfire Safety Taskforce in September before deciding what recommendations to accept.
Mr OBrien says $50 million has already been committed to improving electricity safety.
Victorian taxpayers will accept the government does have to make improvements to electricity services particularly in bushfire-prone areas.
However, they will also want the government to be practical in agreeing to reforms that the state can afford.