October 15, 2006 10:14pm
Article from: AAP
WORRIED Sydney householders inundated the fire service with emergency calls after a change in the weather caused power lines across the city to start sparking.
NSW Fire Brigades started receiving the calls about 5.30pm (AEST) today when the prolonged spell of dry weather gave way to light rainfall.
At one point this evening firefighters were dealing with a backlog of 50 calls from all over Sydney about electricity cables that were violently sparking and "scaring people to death", a spokesman said.
The effect – known as arcing – occurs when built-up dust and ash on power lines comes into contact with misty rain.
There is a bright flash, sometimes accompanied by a loud bang – but it is nothing to worry about, according to experts.
"There's nothing you can do about it. It's a matter either of the rain washing the dirt off or it burning off," the spokesman said. "Electricity and water don't mix – that's what it's about."
EnergyAustralia spokesman Anthony O'Brien said there had been no reports of major interruptions to the city's power supply.
"If you are sitting in your home, it (arcing) can sound quite alarming. But it is just like a circuit breaker going on and off," he said.