A St Patrick's Day bushfire victim fears more lives will be endangered before vital changes are made to harden the electricity network and prevent such terrifying destruction.
The Sisters dairy farmer Jill Porter has developed a forensic knowledge of bushfires after losing half her stud Jersey herd following a fire last year.
She said only more bushfires would force necessary change to the State Government's legislative plans to give regulatory authorities the power and incentive to act and to drive fundamental shift in attitude from electricity distributors.
Mrs Porter has met with state Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio a number of times, liaises with federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor, advises leading government MPs and has made a range of submissions to regulators and independent authorities.
Her conclusion is simple but she described it as soul destroying after 18 months of full-time effort.
"Other communities will be burnt out before change is forced," she said.
"I fear that more lives will have to be endangered and lost before governments, regulators and the distributors do what is decent and right."
Mrs Porter said hardening the electricity distribution system was the most effective way of reducing the risk of bushfires.
She said that in the early 2000s it was identified that the Victorian distribution system was ageing but since then only the most basic maintenance had been undertaken.
That's despite a royal commission recommending reducing the risk of powerline fires after it was revealed powerline faults caused 159 of 173 deaths on Black Saturday in 2009.
Since then the state government has legislated implementation of what was originally viewed as a promising $150 million safety system.
The cost of that Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL) system is heading towards $1 billion.
Mrs Porter said there were now major questions over the cost benefits of the system, a complete lack of independent or peer expert overview, the system's limitations and power companies making money from putting it in place.
This week Ms D'Ambrosio said the government made "no apologies" for rolling out the "life-saving technology", insisting it reduced fire risk by an estimated 70 per cent in some of the most bushfire prone areas.
Mrs Porter said there was little to no evidence REFCL would have stopped one bushfire on either St Patrick's Day or Black Saturday.
She said the state government had become wilfully blind to the flaws in REFCL and it was now revealed that the safety system made the distribution network less reliable.
"Bushfires on days of catastrophic risk are started by electricity infrastructure - clashing conductors, vegetation on wires and falling rotten power poles," Mrs Porter said.
"That's what happened on St Patrick's Day and Black Saturday. It's what has happened historically.
"That's why hardening the electrify system has become the No. 1 priority in the United States where there have been huge bushfires in the past few years."
Mrs Porter also called for legislative change so regulators could force electricity companies to act in the best interests of the public.
"There is no incentive for the companies to alter their bottom-line driven primary thinking," she said.
"Only when they are fined millions of dollars for starting fires and burning out communities like mine will there be change.
"It's past overdue for that change to happen. I would hate another community to go through what ours has but it's become very obvious that's what's going to happen."
Powercor has 577,800 power poles. In 2017 it put in just 1152 new poles - a fraction of one percent.
Most of the poles in the system are more than 50 years old with a lifespan of about 60 years.
Although they currently meet standard, it's only a matter of time before tens of thousands will have to be replaced.
A Powercor official previously said that the company knew it should be be replacing about 14,000 poles a year.
Contact was made with Powercor and Ms D'Ambrosio's office for comment.
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