SP AUSNET is continuing its upgrade of the high voltage powerlines in the Portland area, but the project’s budget has blown out considerably because of delays. The project involves the replacement of 16 kilometres of powerlines, which involves insulators, fittings and line hardware. It had been expected to cost $33 million and be completed by February 2011. However, an SP Ausnet spokesman confirmed yesterday that issues relating to replacing new high voltage conductors had delayed the project considerably. “The previous standard conductor consisted of aluminium strands wrapped around a steel core,” he said. “These conductors are used around the Victorian transmission network. In high corrosion areas such as around Portland, corrosion would occur in these conductors between the two types of metal. “The new conductors are a special anti-corrosive design that had never been used by SP Ausnet before.” Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.