Regulator releases findings in near-fatal Beldon electrical incident

The Independent Building and Energy regulator has released its final report into a March 2018 incident, which resulted in a near-fatal electrical shock to Western Australian girl Denishar Woods.

Metallurgical experts helped the regulator prepare the report, which found that the shock resulted from the failure of a neutral mains conductor – although it could not conclusively determine how it failed.

The incident resulted in Denishar being permanently brain injured and requiring constant care.

Following the incident, the Western Australian Government has supported Denishar and her family with assistance that included:

  • An act of grace payment of $1,000,000
  • An act of grace payment of up to $100,000 for a modified vehicle (and associated costs) suitable for transporting Denishar in a wheelchair
  • The Department of Communities has provided free rent, modifications to their existing home and is covering the costs for the construction of a new purpose built home
  • Establishing a specific cost centre, administered by the Department of Communities, to fund expenses not covered by existing services.

Since the incident, the State Government has allocated $61 million for the installation of advanced metering infrastructure, which will be live from mid-2020. This will include a program to detect electrical shock warning signs.

Additionally, Western Power, Horizon Power and Building and Energy are developing a public campaign to educate the community on what to do when they experience electric shocks and tingles.

Western Power has welcomed the release of the Building and Energy investigation into the electrical accident.

In a recent press release, Western Power said, “Our continuing thoughts are with Ms Woods and her family following this terrible incident.

“Western Power supports the thorough and independent investigation of all serious electrical incidents.

“The report highlights that many factors over an extended period contributed to the slow deterioration to the single-phase aerial connection at the property which led to the accident.

“Western Power is working with Building and Energy to develop a public awareness campaign to encourage the community to make the call when they experience electric shocks and tingles.”

State Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “The safety awareness campaign, expected to start by the end of this year, will help reduce the risk of another similar tragic electric shock occurring.

“I urge anyone who experiences shocks or tingles from fittings in their homes to call Western Power immediately on 13 13 51 or, for those located outside the South West Interconnected System, to call Horizon Power on 13 23 51.

“Installing advanced metering infrastructure is an important step forward to improving our network, Western Power will install 238,000 advanced meters over the next four years.”

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