Essential Energy launch mapping app to reduce the "concerning" number of powerline strikes

New app, Look Up and Live, has been launched early to reduce the
New app, Look Up and Live, has been launched early to reduce the "concerning" amount of electricity asset strikes seen in recent weeks. Photo: AAAA

Essential Energy has brought forward the NSW launch of an app showing overhead powerline locations and imagery in a bid to reduce safety incidents ahead of harvest.

The company's head of operations, Sarah Roche said they were "extremely concerned" about the number of electricity asset strikes they have had in recent weeks.

"We want to ensure that everyone on the land is aware of the resources and tools available for all operations to use to ensure a safe harvest," Ms Roche said.

The app, Look Up and Live, makes the locations of power lines available at no cost, via an interactive geospatial map. It allows users to search locations in real time and overlay maps with third party mapping programs as required.

"We're hoping the new tool will help minimise contact with the network and reduce the risk of injury or death from electrocution, as well as damage to equipment and our electricity network," Ms Roche said.

The app has already been introduced in Queensland and has seen great results, including a 25 per cent reduction of total safety incidents and a 50pc reduction of accidental contacts in the agricultural sector.

While, many electricity asset strikes are with farm machinery, including augers and tipping trucks - powerlines are also an issue for the aerial application industry.

Aerial Application Association of Australia (AAAA) chief executive officer Phil Hurst said wires were the biggest safety problem faced by application pilots and roughly 30pc of wire strikes in their industry were because the pilot did not know the power line was there.

"Most of our operators already have access to these maps but now they will be available in an up-to-date and much more sophisticated format," Mr Hurst said.

"We can now look at a monitor in the office, we can drop that app onto the monitor and say 'that's where the power line is, we know that.'

"That's a huge leap forward because it removes any doubts."

Mr Hurst said the next step was improving the marking of power lines.

"There's a brilliant new marker available from Balmoral Engineering, they're 3D and they spin, which makes them hard to miss," he said.

"But, the important thing about them is they're able to be put up on a live line.

"Every landholder using augers or unloading trucks around power lines should have them installed, it just makes life so much easier and safer."