Western Power has started upgrading energy transformers in the Mid West, to increase the network resilience of the South West Interconnected System and help mitigate bushfire risks. More than 70 upgrades will be performed across the State, with 19 in the Mid West. Almost half the transformers identified for upgrade in the Mid West and Wheatbelt have been completed with the remaining to be upgraded by early 2024. The transformers selected for upgrade in the Mid West and Wheatbelt are located in Calingiri, Chittering, Clackline, Julimar, Lower Chittering, Moresby, Muchea, Springfield, Toodyay, Waggrakine, West Toodyay, Woorree and Wundowie. Distribution transformers, which convert the high voltage used in power lines to a lower voltage that’s suitable for residential use, are a vital part of the electricity grid. Western Power manager of operations north Derek Sutherland said the upgrades were part of a package of summer preparedness and bushfire management works to minimise fire risks and improve reliability. They were prioritised based on network requirements. “With the Bureau of Meteorology signalling increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires this year, we’re working hard to ensure the network is as prepared as possible,” he said. “We’re upgrading ageing equipment and improving the capacity of our assets to prepare for extreme weather conditions. “ Western Power has identified and is upgrading transformers which previously experienced or are forecast to experience extremely high demand which will help manage overload during peak times. “While we cannot guarantee 100 per cent reliability, we’re doing everything we can to improve network resilience to minimise the duration and number of unplanned outages,” Mr Sutherland said. The distribution transformer upgrades started in August and involved assets which service more than 6500 customers across the SWIS.