Fruit bats and the power system

Fruit bats annually cause power outages in parts of Darwin's rural area.

The fruit bats cluster to flowering native plants that provide a food source for them. Parks and Wildlife advise that the fruit bats will move on when their food runs out.

How do bats cause a power outage?

When the fruits bats cluster around powerline insulators they can form a bridge from the conductor to the steel cross-arms. This short-circuits the high voltage system, causing the outage.

If the power outage is short - a few seconds - it means the bats have fallen away and the system can safely restore power.

If this doesn't happen our crews have to patrol the powerline, find and remove the fruit bats before power can be restored.

What is Power and Water doing to fix this?

We are upgrading the insulators on overhead powerlines, replacing them with longer post-top insulators. This provides greater clearance for birds and animals and makes the system more resilient to lightning strikes.

In affected areas we have installed specially designed mesh mats, which have proven effective against smaller fruit bats.