UPDATE, Monday, 8.30am: The Supreme Court of Victoria has listed the settled Terang/Cobden bushfire class action for a further hearing on the week starting December 9.
That listing will be to hear the application for approval of a settlement in the proceeding between Powercor and lead plaintiff Anthony Lenehan.
"At this hearing, any objections to the proposed settlement will also be heard," the Supreme Court spokesman said.
Last week: The Supreme Court of Victoria has confirmed the Anthony Lenehan v Powercor trial in Warrnambool about the Terang/Cobden bushfire on St Patrick's Day last year has settled.
A spokesman said the hearing was adjourned to a further hearing (on a date yet to be fixed) where an application will be made for the approval of a settlement of the proceeding.
The proceeding is also listed for a further directions hearing on Friday, November 1, in Melbourne.
A Powercor spokeswoman said the proposed settlement, for those involved in the class action, was subject to approval by the Supreme Court.
She said the settlement was without admission of liability by Powercor.
"We acknowledge these fires have been devastating for landowners and the community," she said.
"We are pleased to have reached a settlement agreement for the Terang fire with all parties," she said.
Warrnambool's Maddens Lawyers have not responded to calls for comment.
A number of questions have been put to Maddens this morning relating to an estimate of the total payout, Maddens' costs, the payout of cents in the dollar of class action member losses and the cents/dollar of losses after Maddens' costs are taken out of the payout.
The Standard revealed yesterday that the settlement made by lawyers for insurance companies, at no cost to their Terang/Cobden bushfire victims prior to the trial, was for 82.5 cents in the dollar of losses suffered.
It's expected that the class action member settlement cents/dollar will be significantly less than 82.5 cents, with some experts tipping less than half.
Yesterday: The Terang/Cobden bushfire Supreme Court class action trial in Warrnambool has settled.
Details of the settlement are not yet available.
Maddens Lawyers, of Warrnambool, and barristers for Powercor will have to return to court at a later date to confirm details of the settlement, which will then be made public.
It's expected that the final figures will not be confirmed until well into next year.
It can now be revealed that the settlement made by lawyers for insurance companies, at no cost to their customers prior to the trial, was for 82.5 cents in the dollar of losses suffered in the fire.
It's expected that the class action member settlement cents/dollar will be significantly less than 82.5 cents, after legal costs of Maddens after subtracted from the settlement figure.
Calls have been made to Maddens Lawyers to provide comment.
Contact has also been made with the Supreme Court and Powercor to comment.
Earlier, October 21: Powercor failed to look at its own data which could have prevented a devastating fire, a barrister told a Warrnambool court on Monday.
Tim Tobin, SC, told the Supreme Court sitting in Warrnambool, that the power company had information that would have alerted it to the dangers of its assets sparking the St Patrick's Day fire at Terang that raced towards Cobden but no one looked at the data.
During the opening address of a class action seeking compensation for fire victims, Mr Tobin said the conductors which clashed sparking the blaze were too close. He claimed Powercor had straightened a pole in 2007 to ensure the conductors were separated but the same pole in a clay table drain had shifted, reducing the gap.
He also claimed the conductors did not have enough clearance from the ground - in places they were more than one metre too short.
He said clashing conductors at pole No. 3 near the Terang electrical substation led to molten metal falling to the ground and sparking the blaze. The fire burnt 18 kilometres in a south-easterly direction, torching 4000 hectares, 90 properties, homes, sheds, fences and livestock.
Mr Tobin said the conductors should have been 900mm apart but were only 210mm apart, a "grossly insufficient clearance" and if Powercor complied with its own standard the fire would never have started.
He said Powercor's own Light Detecting and Ranging Measurement data showed there was a gross breach of regulations but the electricity distributor did not instruct anyone to look at the data.
The company looked at data for 66kv lines but not 22kv lines.
"No one bothered to look at the 22kv lines," he said.
"Powercor never looked at the risk of clashing. It would have been obvious to anyone looking at clearances."
Mr Tobin said clashing conductors had been a major cause of bushfires since the 1970s and Powercor admitted its assets caused the Terang/Cobden bushfire.
He said on Black Saturday 2009 clashing conductors caused a bushfire at Weerite, just 30 kilometres east of Terang.
Mr Tobin said that since the fire on St Patrick's Day, concrete had been added to reinforce the pole and the crossarms had been relocated.
Barrister Tim Margetts, QC, said there was no argument that Powercor had a duty of care but the dispute was whether plaintiffs had the right to claim damages.
He agreed Powercor had an obligation to inspect and maintain its assets.
"In this trial we say that from a Powercor perspective, Powercor has discharged that duty," he said.
Mr Margetts said the question was whether Powercor had discharged its duty and exercised reasonable care.
He said there were risks in the supply of electricity that could not be completely eliminated and not all potential risks could be prevented or all risk removed.
The barrister said a management scheme had been put to and accepted by Energy Safe Victoria.
Mr Margetts said clashing conductors on poles with such cross arms were "exceptionally rare" and experienced linesmen had described it as "unheard of".
"The court has to consider if the inspection and maintenance practices introduced by Powercor discharge the duty of care," he said.
The QC said the clash of conductors happened 2.5 metres from the power pole, not at the pole.
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