State Underground Power Program (SUPP)

The State Underground Power Program is a State Government initiative to provide underground power across the State of Western Australia.

The program is made up of different rounds with each round completed over a number of years and across a number of selected suburbs. The aim of the initiative was to provide 50% of Perth households with underground by 2010. This milestone was achieved with the completion of Round 5. The program has now shifted to Round 6 with some changes to the process.

The nomination process for locations in Round 6 was different to previous rounds. The City put forward three locations for the Underground Steering Committee to consider. The nominations were based on expected local community support and in accordance with the associated Council resolution. It was also unlikely that these locations would have been upgraded to Underground Power for a significant period of time in the future based on the current life cycle of the overhead power infrastructure. Menora and Trigg were the two locations were selected for the latest Round of SUPP and these were Menora and Trigg with North Beach being rejected.

Support for Households during the COVID-19 crisis

The City of Stirling acknowledges the financial impact that the COVID-19 crisis will have on the community and is working on a range of support measures to provide financial relief during this unprecedented time. 

The City of Stirling has confirmed a $43.7 million boost for households, businesses, and community as Western Australia moves into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City’s Economic Stimulus and Community Recovery Package was adopted by Council on 12 May 2020 with the following initiatives approved for households to provide immediate financial relief for ratepayers and debtors.

Support for households

Financial relief includes

  • Rate freeze for 2020/21
  • Removal of interest, instalment and arrangement fees
  • Flexible payment options and suspension of debt collection activity.

Council and the City have agreed that the Rates Notices for the Trigg Underground Power Project which forms part of the State Governments SUPP program will not be sent out in the 2020/2021 Financial Year in line with the intent of the City’s Economic Stimulus and Community Recovery Package.

What is the State Underground Power Program (SUPP)?

The program is a partnership between the Government of Western Australia, Western Power and Local Government Agencies. Funding for projects is shared between program partners. The Program was established in 1996 to improve the reliability of electricity supply, after a severe storm in 1994 caused major disruptions in Perth and southern parts of Western Australia. Western Power later reported that 80 per cent of the power failures could be attributed to trees and branches falling on power lines.

The Program has operated successfully since its inception, and about 55 per cent of houses in the Perth metropolitan area now have underground power. While property developers must underground electricity supply in new sub-divisions, about 370,000 homes in Perth and 90,000 homes in regional urban areas are still connected to Western Power’s overhead distribution system. The Program is very popular with local governments, and projects are awarded through competitive rounds similar to a public tender (subject to a budget for each funding round). Eighty-five projects have been completed under the Program, providing underground distribution connections to over 86,000 properties.

The SUPP incorporated two types of projects: Major Residential Projects (MRP) involve large areas of predominantly residential properties. Prior to Round 5 preferred project sizes vary from 800 to 1300 lots, for Round 6 that was revised to between 600 and 1000 lots - this may change in future rounds. Localised Enhancement Projects (LEP) which were smaller in size and involved precinct areas of high significance to the community. That is, usually around a kilometre of roads, such as main streets in country towns, significant council areas in the metropolitan area, or areas of historical or heritage significance.

How are the works funded?

Each round of the program has its own funding arrangement as per the associated round guidelines. These guidelines define the parameters the program is to operate under and the associated roles and responsibilities of each party that the guidelines relates to. The round guidelines can be found on Energy Policy WA's website for State Underground Power Program, please go there for the latest version of the guidance document and forward any questions relating to this document to Energy Policy WA.

The City of Stirling operates under a 'user pays' principle for funding, and in accordance with the benefits accruing to property owners identified in the ERA report, its contribution is fully recovered from the owners of properties that benefit from the underground power works. As per the current Funding Agreement conditions the City is required to pay the full estimated project cost over the twelve months project timeline to Western Power but carry the cost of the project's Property Owners payment plans over the offered yearly payment plans.

As each round is completed it is reviewed with changes suggested to future rounds so the program can continue to meet any new State Governments objectives.

    For further information on the State Underground Power Program (SUPP), the City advises that this is a matter for the State Government and that additional queries should be addressed through the below website.