The State Government and Western Power have reached two significant milestones as part of Australia’s biggest underground power program.
Energy Minister Francis Logan said 350,000 properties in the Perth metropolitan area were now serviced by underground power.
And he said the number of households and businesses with retrospective underground power connections had topped 60,000.
“We now have 47 per cent of the greater metropolitan area with underground power and we’re well on track to reach our target of 50 per cent by 2010,”
Mr Logan said.
“Connecting to underground power is a major benefit to property owners and occupiers who are provided with attractive, brighter and more evenly lit streets, as well as a safer and reliable power supply.
“The removal of overhead powerlines also allows street trees to grow to their natural height and shape and reduces the number of power interruptions caused by external forces, such as car accidents or falling debris.”
Western Power managing director Doug Aberle said he was pleased with the progress of underground power in the Western Power network.
“Underground power can be particularly important in the approaching winter months,” Mr Aberle said.
“When a storm occurs and causes large-scale damage to the network, Western Power must attend to hazards and large faults in the first instance. Connections between single customers and the network are the last to be attended.
“With underground power, this particular problem can be eliminated as the connection to the home is no longer overhead.”
The 47 per cent figure includes new subdivisions and areas where powerlines have been retrospectively placed underground.
In 1991, the State Labor Government made it mandatory for all new housing developments and subdivisions to have underground electrical connections.
Five years later, the Underground Power Program was introduced to retrospectively replace overhead powerlines with underground systems.
So far, the State Government has spent almost $185million in 33 underground power projects around Perth. Another $28million has been allocated in the 2008-09 State Budget.
The cost of program is shared between the State Government, Western Power and each local council. The State Government and Western Power each contribute 25 per cent, and the local council 50 per cent. Local councils usually raise their portion through a ratepayers' levy.
The Minister announced the milestones in Wembley Downs, where he inspected the biggest underground power project ever undertaken in Perth. Costing more than $18million, the project will convert 1,808 lots to underground power and is due to finish in October this year.
Minister's office - 9222 8950