Several wooden coils with power cable laid in trench. Concept of electricity supply for construction projects.

A revised underground power program promises to transition 50,000 Western Australian homes from ageing overhead power lines, promising equitable delivery for low socio-economic communities.

Underground power benefits residents with safer electricity, improved reliability, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced streetscapes and visual amenity.

The program is a successor to the State Government’s State Underground Power Program (SUPP), which has operated since 1996 and once complete in 2024, will have connected over 100,000 properties.

Unlike the former program, the Targeted Underground Power Program (TUPP) will administer projects on a rolling basis, as opposed to regular funding rounds and will target the delivery of eight projects per year.

The TUPP has been designed to maximise Western Power’s contribution to project costs, target parts of the network most in need of replacement and direct State Government funding to lower socio-economic areas through tiered levels of State Government support.

Key features of the new Program include:

  • Selection of areas through a network-driven approach, which prioritises project areas with a high density of ageing overhead assets to maximise Western Power’s contribution

  • A State Government contribution to support projects in lower socio-economic project areas

  • Improved governance and simplified administration, including an ongoing rolling program (rather than competitive funding rounds) and annual oversight through the State Budget process

  • Demonstrated ratepayer support for projects

The TUPP is funded by Western Power and relevant local government authorities; with the State Government’s tiered funding based on socio-economic indicators to ensure all areas can benefit.

The four-year program will initially focus on the Town of Victoria Park, City of Vincent, City of Stirling, City of Bayswater, Town of Bassendean, City of Swan, Shire of Mundaring, City of Canning, City of Fremantle, City of Melville, City of Rockingham and City of Mandurah.

Western Australia’s Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said underground power offered substantial benefits when compared to traditional overhead transmission lines.

 “Underground power is safer, more reliable and costs less to maintain, which means property owners pay less,” Mr Johnston said.

“The State Government recognises these benefits, with the new program significantly improving on the efficiency of Western Power’s previous State Underground Power Program.

“Western Power is also replacing traditional streetlights with new energy saving LED lighting and ensuring the network is more resilient to extreme weather events.”

©2024 Utility Magazine. All rights reserved


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