UPDATE, 12.30pm: An Energy Safe Victoria spokesman has rejected the assertion the regulator had pulled out of a community forum.
"We are working closely with government on establishing a comprehensive consultation program through to the end of the year," he said.
"The briefing of Mr Tehan is a separate matter," he said.
However, it is understood that ESV officials will not be attending a community forum in Terang on Thursday planned by Wannon MP Dan Tehan.
Earlier: Officials from Victoria's energy regulator have backed out of a public forum in Terang on Thursday to allay the fears of locals following the St Patrick's Day bushfires.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, who is also the federal Education Minister, had organised the briefing after requesting an overhaul of the state energy distribution network power pole maintenance program following last year's bushfires which devastated parts of the south-west.
Energy Safe Victoria made an offer to brief the minister, but Mr Tehan said it was essential that the community and bushfire victims be involved in that process.
Early this month an ESV spokesman said the regulator would be happy to brief the minister and outline forward plans recently released in a Draft Report: The Condition of Power Poles in South West Victoria.
The briefing was to be held in Terang on Thursday.
This morning Mr Tehan confirmed ESV would not be attending.
"They have now said 'No'," he said.
"ESV said it will do its own community consultation, at some stage. They will give me a briefing but not be part of a public forum."
Mr Tehan said ESV had just told him of its decision.
"It's disappointing, incredibly disappointing for the community," he said.
"The community is crying out for ESV leadership. People want to know before the next fire season that ESV is doing all can that to ensure community safety.
"What the community wants is ESV officials to look them in the eye and tell them they are doing everything in their power to keep communities safe."
Mr Tehan said he would continue to push for what he described as essential community consultation.
"If not, I will meet with ESV on my own on behalf of the community, but it's incredibly disappointing that the community is being treated this way," he said.
When Mr Tehan originally accepted the briefing offer he said the community had to be involved.
"It's imperative that the community has an input and those with power to regulate understand the utter devastation of bushfires caused by failing electricity infrastructure," he said at the time.
ESV is seen as a toothless tiger and was identified as a weak regulator in the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.
In the decade since then its reputation has only gone further backwards and electricity distributor Powercor is seen as self-regulating.
Issues came to a head on the night of March 17 last year when four major bushfires were sparked by electrical infrastructure in the south-west.
Those fires burnt out 26 homes, more than 200 farms, huge numbers of livestock and countless lives were tipped upside down.
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