18/05/2022 - 11:32

$50m underground power deal for Vincent

18/05/2022 - 11:32

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Hundreds of property owners in City of Vincent will be able to tap into underground power as part of a $50 million Western Power project.

$50m underground power deal for Vincent
Hundreds of property owners in City of Vincent will be able to tap into underground power as part of a $50 million Western Power project. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Hundreds of property owners in City of Vincent will be able to tap into underground power as part of a $50 million Western Power project.

The city councillors approved at their meeting last night, for the city to enter a memorandum of understanding with Western Power to provide underground power at 5,336 electricity service metres in three project areas.

Named the Vincent Underground Power Project, project areas North Perth/Mount Lawley, North Perth/Mount Hawthorn, and Perth/Highgate are part of Western Power's Network Renewal Underground Pilot Program (NRUPP) due to ageing overhead infrastructure.

According to the report presented to council, Western Power expanded the initial project area to include an additional 144 metres covering about 80 lots in the Mount Hawthorn Town Centre, being Oxford Street, Anzac Road and Hobart Street.

The report said the high-level estimate for underground power in the three project areas was around $50 million, with Western Power funding the majority of the cost.

Western Power’s funding for the project is subject to approval. If approved, the funds would cover the majority of the cost for NRUPP with the remainder being met by the City of Vincent,” the report said.

“There will be a portion of capital expenditure and operating expenditure that will funded by the City of Vincent and/or the property owner (either directly or indirectly).

“Modelling shows that, after the contribution by Western Power, the cost to the City of Vincent for undergrounding distribution lines is $2,500 - $5,000 per property.”

“Based on recent experience in other local government areas, we could expect around 70 per cent of property owners would pay this estimated cost of between $2,500 to $5,000 upfront."

Vincent councillors passed the item en bloc at the council meeting last night, with no discussion or request for a debate.

Mayor Emma Cole said the decision was “incredibly exciting news” for the city, with the underground power project being highly discussed in the community.

“I’m surprised it didn’t get called out but we will be doing a lot of communications about that,” she said.

Ms Cole said the city continue to advocate for underground power to be rolled out across the rest of Vincent in future collaboration with Western Power and the state government.

“For a long time, underground power has not been cost effective for the city, but this new opportunity is a game changer for the city and our residents who have been asking for underground power,” she said.

“This is a golden opportunity to roll-out underground power in three substantial areas in Vincent and make significant inroads into the dream of our neighbourhoods being free of overhead powerlines so our tree canopy can flourish.

"We hope this is the beginning for every street in Vincent.”

Community engagement and detailed design for construction are expected to take place over 12 months, with the projects to be completed within two years of construction starting.

The city administration staff will then prepare a business case to identify full details of the costs and timing of the project.

"Administration will recommend to the council that we establish $1-2 million in the underground power reserve as part of next financial year’s annual budget to ensure no delay in the roll out of this program," the report said.

"The amount in the reserve would then be able to be recalibrated with greater accuracy in 2023-2024 financial year."

The council report said the cost to residents was a significant reduction than other options through the State Underground Power Program or Retrospective Undergrounding Projects which had been as high as $10,000.

The City of Stirling has implemented the State Underground Power Program in Woodlands, Mount Lawley, Churchlands/Wembley, Coolbinia, Menora and Trigg.

A survey the city circulated prior to works undertaken in Trigg flagged an estimated cost of $10,100 for a single residential property.

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