Western Power

'Underground Power Marathon' Runs On Time and Under Budget

Aug. 8, 2013
Western Power has installed 42.2 km of cable, the equivalent of an Olympic Marathon Running Race, providing underground power to Coolbellup residents.

Western Power has installed 42.2 km of cable, the equivalent of an Olympic Marathon Running Race, providing underground power to Coolbellup residents. The marathon length project began in March 2012 and was completed in July 2013, with the removal of the final wooden power pole 24th July, one of 504 wooden poles removed.

"Western Power is pleased to complete this project on time and under budget. This represents the 43rd consecutive State Underground Power Program (SUPP) to be completed under budget." The project cost of $10.3 million was shared by Western Power, the State Government and the City of Cockburn.

"This project has connected 965 homes to Western Power’s underground power network while adding immeasurable value to the area" said SUPP Manager Nick Bailey.

Local residents have now gained enhanced streetscapes, more reliable power, brighter and safer streetlights and a demonstrated increase to property values.

The new 281 streetlights alternate from one side of the road to the other and are spaced closer to each other, allowing more light to the roadway.

"With 55% of Perth power now underground, the community, local government and state government continue to show their support and appreciation for the program," Bailey noted.

Western Power looks forward to working closely with the City of Cockburn in the future, including completion of the current underground project in Hamilton Hill, due for completion in the first quarter of 2014. Other suburbs currently underway include; Ardross, Attadale, Coolbinia, Shoalwater and Wilson.

State Underground Power Program (UPP)

The State Underground Power Program (SUPP) is a State Government initiative administered by the Public Utilities Office at the Department of Finance. Local Councils can nominate areas to be converted to underground power.  Each nomination is assessed against social, economic and technical criteria by the SUPP Steering Committee.

There are two streams to the SUPP - Major Residential Projects and Local Enhancement Projects. MRPs are usually around 600 to 1000 properties in residential areas while the LEPs usually underground around a kilometre of roads such as main streets in country towns or council areas in the metropolitan area, or areas of historical or heritage significance.


Generally, the cost of each MRP is shared between the State Government (25%), Western Power (25%) and the Local Councils (50%). Local Councils usually pass their responsibility to the property owners in the project area as they gain significant advantages from the conversion of the power system to underground.
The funding for LEPs is similar to MRPs but the State Government and Western Power contributions are capped at $500,000 each.

New, Brighter, Safer, Streetlights

In each project, a new street lighting system designed to the Australian Standard is installed. There are around 10% more lights installed than are removed with the old overhead system. The new lights are more closely spaced, generally alternated from one side of the road to the other, and placed around a metre from the kerb to provide more light to the roadway. The steel light poles will collapse when hit by vehicles to reduce damage and injuries.

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