Within 2 years, Zinfra will become the sole operations and maintenance
provider for AusNet Services’ transmission network in these regions for a period of five (5) years, with the option to extend for two further three-year periods (3+3). The Central and East regions have been
awarded effective immediately with the North West region to be mobilised in 2022, if not earlier.
Under the TOMSA (Transmission Operations and Maintenance Services Agreement), as a critical part
of the partnership, Zinfra has grown our 1700+ Zinfra family by bringing in 87 skilled transmission line,
substation and communications employees into our Power Services team, who will continue to
operate from depots in Benalla, Hazelwood, Rowville and Thomastown.
This agreement represents a significant change to AusNet Services’ delivery model which has
previously been achieved through a mix of in-house delivery and outsourcing to third-party contractors
in the three regions. AusNet Services’ entire transmission network in Victoria comprises 13,000
transmission towers, 6,685km of high voltage transmission powerlines, 58 terminal/switching stations
and 66 zone substations which connect and transport the power from electricity generators to
distribution networks and on to all Victorian consumers.
AusNet Services has sought the relationship to develop their future state delivery model and align
strategic priorities, which includes cost efficiency, greater affordability for customers and sustainable
shareholder returns whilst ensuring safe delivery of works, flexibility and responsiveness to customer
and business needs, and growing and managing dynamic networks. Transmission investment in
Victoria is critical to support the transition to renewables and new generation resources, and fulfil
demand for reliable supply of electricity. Zinfra’s role to maintain the network in Victoria is critical to
the successful operation of the NEM.
Peter Iancov, Managing Director of Zinfra, commented, “We are committed to building relationships
with our clients and communities”.
He noted, “Zinfra has been a trusted partner to AusNet Services on numerous transmission
infrastructure projects in both regulated and unregulated sectors.”
These projects include the refurbishment of West Melbourne Terminal Station, modernising one of
Melbourne’s key terminal stations; installation of 622km new OPGW (optical ground wire) cable to
establish the North West Communications Loop which provides both grounding and communications
enabling high speed data transmission capability, linking Ballarat, Horsham, Mildura and Bendigo;
and connection assets for what will be Australia’s biggest wind farm with 149 turbines supplying
390,000 homes, the 530MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm. This required construction of the new 500kV
Haunted Gully Terminal Station and 78km of 132kV transmission line to transmit the power the wind
farm will generate. Another major AusNet Services project is the upgrades, new zone substation and
new switchyards to support Yallourn Power Station which supports major generator Loy Yang Power
Station and the Yallourn open cut mine. We provide value-driven, safe, responsive and reliable
service that our partners can trust.
With our appointment via the TOMSA, Zinfra will now provide ongoing services on AusNet Services’
transmission assets and substations comprising of maintenance, defects, fault response and minor
capital works, leveraging the in-house expertise from our project-based work and Power Services
delivery for AusNet Services and other key clients nationally. This contract is valued at approximately
$18M per annum and a combination of Schedule of Rates, Target Cost and Fixed Fee mechanisms.
Through the TOMSA Zinfra also has the opportunity as a preferred partner to undertake small capital
works projects such as circuit breaker replacement, protection scheme upgrades, new feeder exits,
installation of connection asset transformers and switchgear (220kV/66kV, 150MVA); all classified as
additional works under the agreement.
The successful transfer, induction and mobilisation of 87 Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) workers into
Zinfra has taken complex planning and integration to ensure business continuity by the operational
handover (March 2020). This is a significant achievement following the Formal Agreement between
parties, executed on 19 February 2020.
There was a range of criteria and conditions precedence to ensure that critical activities captured in
our plans were completed by the collective pursuant to enabling the transfer – this managed risk and
established a secure platform for the “transfer of business” to occur. This included training to ensure
skills, competencies and safety compliance with Zinfra’s policy framework, managed by Zinfra’s
Technical Training team.
bThe successful transfer has been achieved for all 87 employees to Zinfra including ASA, ETU and EA
employees with zero IR disputes involving Zinfra.
During the Transition Phase (March to September 2020), Zinfra will adopt new hardware and
integrate a new Field Service Management (FSM) system and mobility platform for the management,
planning, dispatch and execution of field activities. A significant IT transitional works program has
been planned and is currently underway. Zinfra will also transition all relevant works practices from
AusNet Services, building on our strengths and capabilities in the Transmission space.
From September 2020, Zinfra will assume full service delivery independent of AusNet Services,
completing the transition phase of the agreement. Zinfra will target further innovations under our
‘trusted partnership’ to reach planned cost reduction milestones as economies of scale are achieved
through managing this state-wide service for Victoria’s transmission network.
We take a long-term perspective to our relationships and contracts. We look to understand, improve
and innovate in the areas where we can add most value, with the TOMSA between Zinfra and AusNet
Services a demonstration of this commitment.