Underground Power Cable Program Target Reached

Underground Power Cable Program Target Reached

Western Australia Minister for Energy Peter Collier

Review Of State Underground Power Program Commences

Victor P Taffa

Energy Minister Peter Collier has released the terms of reference for the review of the State Underground Power Program (SUPP).

Under the program, 65 projects have been completed, providing underground distribution systems to more than 70,000 properties.

“The State Government had a target of having 50 % of Houses in the Perth Metropolitan Area connected to underground power by 2010, and this target was achieved in January 2010.” Mr. Collier said.

“Having reached the initial target, it is an appropriate time for a review since the introduction of the program almost 15 years ago.”

The Office of Energy will conduct the review and provide a report to the Minister by June 30, 2011.

Open to public consultation, it will include:

  • An investigation of costs for future rounds of the Program;
  • Identification of priorities for undergrounding of Power Lines with respect to extreme weather events;
  • A review of the Policy Objectives of Underground Power;
  • Consideration of ways of improving the equity and affordability of the Program.

In addition, the independent Economic Regulation Authority is conducting a cost benefit analysis of the program, which will help to inform the review with respect to determining appropriate cost-sharing arrangements for any future funding rounds.

“Round five of the program is also under way and I expect to release a shortlist of round five Major Residential Projects in November.” the Minister said.

The SUPP was established in 1996 by the then Energy Minister Colin Barnett with the aim of improving the standard of electricity supply following the 1994 storm that caused widespread and lengthy blackouts across Perth.

Local Governments fund 50 % of the program, with the State Government and Western Power each funding 25 %.