Western Power has been charged over an incident in Geraldton two years ago in which a 17-year-old girl was electrocuted by a fallen power line as she walked home from a party with friends.
Amber Finch was killed by severe electric shock in the early hours of January 30, 2010 when her head struck a damaged wire left dangling by storms which had lashed the Mid West town.
Almost two years after the incident, which left two other teenagers injured, WA’s electricity safety watchdog has moved to charge Western Power for allegedly failing to keep its network safe.
EnergySafety has charged Western Power over alleged breaches to the State’s electricity network safety regulations.
At the centre of the case against the State-owned electricity distributor is a claim it failed to act on warnings about the need to replace the kind of ageing wires involved in the incident.
The lines, known as switch wires, have historically been used to control street lights and it is believed the one which killed Amber Finch may have been installed as early as the 1940s.
The wire was in a corroded state when it snapped some time on January 30 and fell hanging in mid air.
Although EnergySafety would not comment on the case, it is understood the regulator had previously warned Western Power to replace the wire and others like it amid fears they were a safety hazard.
The warnings had followed a number of similar incidents including one in 1995 in which a 27-year-old father of three was electrocuted while watering his front lawn when he touched a fallen switch wire.
In an apparent acknowledgment of the problem, the Barnett Government outlined in the May Budget that $17.4 million would be set aside this financial year to replace 2,048 km of the troubled lines.