Improved regional electricity service

Utilising Starlink will help SA Power Networks' crews in regional areas. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
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SA Power Networks (SAPN) is the first energy distributor in Australia to utilise Starlink’s low-orbit satellite communications to ensure internet connectivity in areas where it was previously not available.

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It is accelerating its rollout of the technology for crews working in regional and remote areas – including Eyre Peninsula – delivering an improved service for customers across the electricity distribution network.

Information technology has a role in managing the electricity network as it is essential to safe power restoration and network maintenance as crews use it to coordinate switching and other key tasks.

“We’re already witnessing game-changing accessibility, performance and safety benefits,” SAPN head of powerline and electrical services Paul Salter said.

“Regional crews can now access consistent high-speed internet from anywhere at any time, making it faster and safer to carry out restoration and maintenance tasks and to keep the business and customers informed of their progress.”

As part of a pilot project last year, SAPN fitted 11 vehicles with Starlink systems, including an elevated work platform truck based at Wudinna.

“We’re now moving to fit more than 150 of our vehicles with the technology by the end of 2024,” Mr Salter said.

“Our crews can be anywhere around the state at any time, and with Starlink they’re able to make and receive phone calls and connect to our IT network to access critical information and all our business systems that help keep them and the community safe and connected to power.”

Mr Salter said there were many areas in SA where cellular coverage was unreliable or non-existent, but utilising Starlink would assist with reducing outage times for customers.

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