The definite health risks from cutting power outweigh possible bushfire prevention benefits

Richard A Broome and Wayne T Smith
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (8): 440-441. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10218

Cutting off power during periods of high fire danger would lead to more deaths and higher costs to communities

On 2 January 2012, during a period of extremely hot weather, a South Australian electricity distributor deliberately cut power to several thousand homes because it was concerned that its electricity assets might cause a bushfire. Its action raises an important question: when does the risk of electricity assets causing a bushfire outweigh the benefits of having a power supply?

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  • Richard A Broome1
  • Wayne T Smith1,2

  • 1 Environmental Health Branch, NSW Ministry of Health, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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