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. Follow project

Background information

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 - Menora, Trigg and North Beach. 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.

FAQs

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.

How do I find out more information?

Timeline

Round 6 - Trigg

February 2020 - March 2021

Round 6 - Menora

February 2019 - February 2020

Round 5 - Coolbinia

July 2013 - January 2015

Round 3 - Churchlands/Wembley

September 2006 - September 2008

Round 2 - Mount Lawley

2001 - 2002

Round 1 - Woodlands

1990 - 2000
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Picture of Trigg Underground Power Program

Trigg Underground Power Project

On February 2017 the City received notification from the Minister of Energy that Trigg was one of two Round 6 locations given the approval by the SUPP Steering Committee and work was scheduled to start in February 2020 with a practical completion date of February 2021.

The Trigg project has now reached practical completion with all overhead power infrastructure removed and properties connected to the new underground power network. The project is now in a defect’s liability stage with Western Power’s contractor, at the end of this stage Western Power will supply information to the City allowing any excess project funds to be refunded Property Owners. The refund process will be conducted as per the “Local Government Act 1995” Section 6.38

The City recently sent out a communication via letter and email informing property owners that the City will be issuing your UGP Invoices for this project. If you haven’t received your Invoice by mid-December 2021, please contact the City.

On February 2017 the City received notification from the Minister of Energy that Trigg was one of two Round 6 locations given the approval by the SUPP Steering Committee and work was scheduled to start in February 2020 with a practical completion date of February 2021.

Find out more information specific to the Trigg Underground Power Project including frequently asked questions and consultation information in the below sections.

FAQs

The dollar value in the survey letter is different to what is on my Underground Power Rates Notice?

The survey letter supplied an estimated average figure of $10,100 for a typical residential property. However, the exact figure will be provided as soon as the funding arrangements are finalised and approved by Council.

What is the timetable for the Project and how is the work implemented?

The project was set to commence in January/February 2020 and is on schedule for completion in February 2021.

Western Power, via its tendered contractor, will be installing the new underground cabling progressively through the street verges using below ground boring methods. Once the new system is connected and energised, Western Power will change each property over from the overhead to the new underground system. The old overhead infrastructure is then removed as soon as possible.

Would all the old overhead lines and poles be removed?

All the distribution lines in the project area will be removed but this would not occur in some areas until late in the project. Some parts of the overhead system cannot be turned off until all properties have been changed to the new underground system.

Why has it taken so long for the project to start?

The project was part of a larger bundle of areas that were to be completed in this round of SUPP. It was determined by the program that Menora would be done before Trigg. It is not recommended to run such projects side by side so Trigg was the next on the list after Menora.

Image of TMenora State Underground Power Program

Menora Underground Power Project

Find out more information specific to the Menora Underground Power Project including frequently asked questions and consultation information. 

The Menora project reached practical completion in February 2020 with all overhead power infrastructure removed and properties connected to the new underground power network. Western Power has supplied information to the City allowing any excess project funds to be refunded Property Owners. The refund process will be conducted as per the “Local Government Act 1995” Section 6.38, it is expected that this process will be completed in early 2022.

On February 2017 Minister of Energy advised that Menora was one of two round 6 locations given approval by the SUPP Steering Committee. Work started in January 2019 and was completed in February 2020.

As part of the process the State Government department responsible for overseeing the SUPP program (currently Energy Policy WA) issued a Survey Letter package in August 2016 requesting property owners indicate their support for such a program in their location. The survey was completed by the property owners and these were then collated by an independent survey company. The survey results were provided to the State Government department (Energy Policy WA) where the results were inputted into a model that takes into account a number of factors including the risk of the current infrastructure failing.

The City in round 6 was given the opportunity to increase the community contribution percentage to gain extra points for the weighting  of the results with a minimum of 50% required, the City selected 60% based on the expected community support and as approved by Council. The City was then formally advised which limited projects were selected by the Steering Committee and proceeded to work on the required actions as per the round guidelines.

FAQs

Will all the old overhead lines and poles be removed?

All the distribution lines in the project area will be removed but this would not occur in some areas until late in the project. Some parts of the overhead system cannot be turned off until all properties have been changed to the new underground system.

However, there is a Western Power transmission line on Bradford Street and Learoyd Street that will not be removed.

Why has it taken so long for the project to start?

The project was part of a larger bundle of areas that were to be completed in this round of SUPP. Menora was the first area for Round 6 of the SUPP program followed by the Trigg project area.

Why was there such a gap between communications about the project?

The public consultation survey was undertaken by the Public Utilities Office (now part of the Energy Policy WA department) in August 2016. The survey gave property owners the opportunity to vote yes or no and also provided an indicative cost of each property owner for their consideration plus other associated information.

The City relies on Western Power for a majority of information to be communicated to the property owners and both parties are working together to improve the process further. As information has come available it has been passed onto associated parties and this will continue at each milestone of the project.

For further information on the State Underground Power Program (SUPP), please contact the below State Government organisations websites:

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