Our extensive network across regional Queensland is typically exposed to storms and cyclones. While we can never storm proof our network, our preparations for storm season and our mitigation strategies are working successfully in many communities to keep the lights on.

Typically our CARE (Cyclone Area Reliability Enhancement) program has helped mitigate damage from storms and cyclones in cyclone prone coastal communities from Cairns to Mackay. Powerlines supplying key community infrastructure - hospitals, emergency services, schools, nursing homes, water pumping and treatment facilities and shopping centres - have been undergrounded improve the reliability of power supply by reducing the risk of damage to our network.

Queenslanders are accustomed to severe storms and their damaging lightning, driving rain, gale force and sometimes destructive winds and their potential for interrupting power.

That’s why we take storm season seriously and prepare for it with a rigorous preparation program across our business.

This year, software used to monitor and manage our vast network has been upgraded, our customer focused outage finder has been enhanced and we've undertaken a further roll out of smart technology to field response crews for the coming storm season.

The new software system in our Rockhampton and Townsville control centres is more robust and reliable and will further help keep the lights on for our customers.

Enhancements to our Outage Finder is one of several initiatives to help keep our customers better informed.

The enhancements improve outage information which is updated every 15 minutes, with information entered by crews in the field via their computer Toughpads as part of the power restoration process.

By searching via postcode or suburb, customers can find out if an outage has been reported, if crews are on route or on site, if work is delayed or rescheduled, or if power is restored. Customers can also discover the start and estimated restoration times, location and reason for the outage – planned our unplanned.

Image of Ergon Energy field staff using a Toughpad for power restoration work in the field In the field, our next phased roll out of field force automation includes the deployment of a further 140 new Toughpads to field crews.

The additional equipment will improve their coordinated responsiveness during storm season.

Much of our annual program of work to develop, maintain and operate the network is aimed at preparing it for the summer storm season, and it is also in the best interests of Queenslanders to get ready and be prepared.

Read more about our summer preparedness plan for 2016/17.

We’re interested in your feedback. If you would like to comment on this article please contact talkingenergy@ergon.com.au