The State Government is spending millions of dollars to improve power reliability throughout the South-West and south coast regions.
Energy Minister Francis Logan, who is in Albany and Mt Barker this week, said householders in these regions were directly benefitting from the Rural Power Improvement Program (RPIP), a jointly funded Western Power and State Government initiative.
Mr Logan said RPIP identified sections of the rural electricity network most in need of upgrades to improve power reliability.
He said $10million was being spent in the South-West and south coast regions on a range of initiatives, including:
· major powerline extensions: The recently completed extension of the Rocky Gully-Frankland feeder line, including 10km of new line, five kilometres of new conductor and six kilometres of underground cabling. This work included the installation of four isolation transformers and eight new reclosers to improve the reliability and security of the electricity network in Mt Barker, Rocky Gully and Frankland;
· major powerline rebuilds: Of the three-phase line in Bridgetown, 10km has been rebuilt and reinforced; 3.3km of the three-phase line in Pemberton has been replaced; sections of the single-phase line in Capel have been reinforced; sections of the single-phase line in Margaret River have been rebuilt and refurbished and 209 power poles in Coolup are in the process of being refurbished; and
· powerlines upgraded: The upgrading of a 4.5km section of line to three-phase in Margaret River and the installation of a 2.5km section of three-phase line in Yallingup to improve reliability have been completed.
The Minister said Western Power was also working to improve power reliability and increase capacity throughout the South-West and South Coast. This work included:
· reliability and capacity improvement work has been undertaken in Denmark and Walpole, including the installation of voltage regulators ($600,000) and reconfiguration work on the existing network to improve reliability($1.4million);
· a proposal to build a new 132,000V powerline from Kojonup to Albany. A preferred corridor had been chosen and Western Power was now working with individual land owners to determine the 50-60m route within the two-kilometre corridor. This line would accommodate growth in the Albany, Denmark and Walpole regions;
· a new powerline linked to Denmark was currently being built in Albany ($1million) to improve reliability in Denmark and increase the capacity for the town of Albany;
· new voltage regulators for Harvey ($761,000) and Dwellingup ($250,000). Due to be completed in March 2009;
· work had been completed on a 22,000V line ($2.4million) to increase the amount of power capacity in the central Bunbury district and the suburb of Dalyellup; and
· the construction of a new 22,000V power line ($1.1million) in the town of Bunbury had begun and was due to be completed in November 2009.
Western Power managing director Doug Aberle said Western Power was working with local stakeholders on the South Coast, predominantly over power improvements in Denmark and Mt Barker.
Mr Aberle said this was being done through the South Coast Power Working Group, which was formed in May 2007.
“The working group was designed to create a forum to share information with the local community and help them understand Western Power’s short and medium-term network improvement plans for the area,” he said.
“Importantly, it gives us an opportunity to engage with the community, seek feedback on our plans and to develop alternative energy solutions for improving the quality and reliability of power supplies to the area.”
Great Southern Development Commission chief executive officer Bruce Manning, who is a member of the working group, said the group was getting very positive feedback from a wide range of community interests.
“The working group presents as a good model for other infrastructure providers to engage with local communities in addressing infrastructure issues,” Mr Manning said.
Minister's office - 9222 8950