A $4M project by Ergon Energy to install underground powerlines in parts of the CBD of Ingham, Qld has begun.

The project aims to significantly improve electricity supply during the storm and cyclone season.

Ergon General Manager Service Delivery Northern Paul Ryan said the project is part Ergon Energy’s Cyclone Area Reliability Enhancement (CARE) program where critical powerlines supplying key community infrastructure are being undergrounded to reduce the risk of severe storm and cyclone damage.

“Approximately 15 km of powerlines are being undergrounded in Lannercost, Herbert and Anne Streets to supply power to Hinchinbrook Shire Council Hall, two supermarkets, a fast food outlet and the local cane growers association offices.

“These businesses provide essential and important services to the community especially in times of severe storms or cyclones which could cause network damage and widespread power interruptions. They help the community to access goods and services which is dependent upon power and start the process of returning to normality after severe weather events,” Mr Ryan said.

The existing overhead network supplying these businesses will remain in place.

Queensland Energy Minister Mark McArdle congratulated Ergon on the project saying the works were an important step in ensuring reliable electricity supply.

“While severe weather may still affect power, CARE improvements although not cyclone proofing, are designed to allow faster restoration of power to key community facilities and to some extent mitigate the impacts of cyclones or severe storms upon communities,” Mr McArdle said.

The project is expected to be finished in January 2014 and is a continuation of other CARE projects undertaken at Ingham.

They include the Ingham Hospital, Ingham Primary and High Schools, and aged care facilities – Palms Nursing Homes and Blue Care’s Ingham Blue Haven Lodge.

CARE projects to protect selected high voltage powerlines in key sections of Ergon’s network have been undertaken in high risk cyclone-prone communities from Mackay north to Cairns since 2001.

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