An audit has found there is a large backlog of condemned wooden power poles needing urgent replacement across Western Australia.

The Economic Regulation Authority has released its 2012 review of Western Power's asset management system.

It found Western Power has improved its systems since 2011 but was concerned at the large backlog of potentially unsafe wooden poles which had not been replaced on time.

It also found Western Power had increased the time it allows itself to replace poles without documenting any reasons for the decision or carrying out a risk assessment.

However, Western Power CEO Paul Italiano says the utility has improved its management of wooden pole assets and has greatly increased the number of wooden poles it treats.

"In May we made a commitment to Parliament that we would replace or reinforce 39,000 distribution wood poles in 2011/12," he said.

"We exceeded that target by 1,150 poles.

"In addition we committed to replace or reinforce 61,500 poles in 2012/13 and we are on track to achieve this target.

"We have been working closely with our safety regulator, EnergySafety, to improve the way we assess wood pole risks and we are currently in the process of changing the methodology for prioritising wood poles for treatment."

The ERA will now require Western Power to give monthly reports on the backlog.

 

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