Underground Power

Media Response 18 April 2007
Underground Power

Please attribute the below information to City CEO Cliff Frewing

Did the State Government give a reason why they cannot progress the round three

With the increase in commodity prices (in particular the price of copper wire) and the escalation in contractor rates on other completed stages, there was a need to establish a new schedule of rates. These were to be fixed for the duration of the project with a number of preferred contractors and until this process had been completed it was not possible to advance this Round Three Project.

When was the Como UGP approved by the government? Which department?
Round Three submissions were called in 2003 by the Office of Energy and projects were shortlisted by Western Power later that year. The City was advised late in 2003 that Como East had been successful.

What are the boundaries for the como east area?
The Como East underground power area is bounded by Canning Highway, Kwinana Freeway, Manning Road, Goss Avenue, Henley Street, Bruce Street, Morrison Street and Thelma Street. The initial eastern extremity had been the vacant reserve bordered by Murray Street from Goss Avenue to Thelma Street but was amended to reduce overall costs to property owners within the underground power area.
Have all other areas received UGP? This is Stage 3, how many stages are there? When were the first two completed?

Each round represents a funding allocation for the undergrounding of powerlines and has a duration of approximately four years. An underground power area is typically defined as 1250 suburban single residential lots and South Perth has been divided into seven such areas, excluding the areas of Waterford and Karawara where underground power is already installed.

The City has had a Round One project (Como West - Canning Highway to the Freeway with South Terrace as the northern boundary, 1998/99) and a Round Two project (Mill Point - bounded by the Freeway, South Terrace, Canning Highway, Lawler Street, Mill Point Road, and Onslow Street, 2001/02).

It has been moved back to 07/08 when the authorities can progress the initiative, what does it mean by "progressing the initiative?" - have they given you any indication as to when that would be? Have you got a roundabout start date for 07/08? Id there a specific time? Early, late, mid year? which month?
The project is expected to commence around August 2007, subject to Council being satisfied with the estimate of costs for the works.

How long will it take?
It is anticipated that the project will take between nine and twelve months.

Will there be much disruption to residents?
Any disruption to residents will be kept to an absolute minimum.

How will the UGP benefit residents?
Residents will benefit from a more reliable power supply and less voltage fluctuation as
underground power provides less opportunity for storm damage and road accidents to disrupt supply. Additionally, it will contribute to improved road lighting, improved streetscapes, less requirement for tree pruning, better community amenity, and improved property values for home owners.

What is the UGP service charge?
The City has not set the Service charge and cannot until a formal cost of the work has been received from the State Underground Power Program (SUPP) project team. The survey distributed to all property owners in the Como East area indicated the range $2,800 to $3,400 as the possible service charge for a single residential property.

The State Government and Western Power will contribute 50% towards the cost of installing underground power to properties in the Como East area, with the remaining cost to be payed by property owners. As stated previously, this cost is anticipated to be in the vicinity of $2,800 to $3, 400 for a typical residential home, less for units and properties with applicable discounts. This encompasses both the network and service connection charges. Commercial and large multiple residential and non-rateable properties will be individually assessed, with costs based on the electrical demand of the property.

Is it paid by residents in instalments?
The City of South Perth will be offering a range of payment options to property owners in the Como East area. These range from full upfront payment to various extended payment
arrangements, in order that the City’s property owners can select which option suits them best.

When it is due now (payment)?
The due date for payment will be set by Council for sometime later in the year.

Has the issue been made widely known? Have residents been made aware of the delay? and what has been their reaction to it?
The delay was advertised by the City in the March 2007 Peninsula, which is distributed to all residents within the City (and is also available on the City website.)

When was the project due to start this year?
The revised date for the Round Three project for Como East was March 2007, brought back from July 2006.

What kind of response came out of the Council's public comment period about the issue last year?
The response from rate payers in the Como East project area to the survey regarding
underground power was encouraging - with over 80% of survey respondents indicating support it augurs well for the future installation.

Have the transformer and switchgear units been installed or sites determined for them?
Sites for the transformer and switchgear units have been determined but installation will only occur in sequence with the other undergrounding of powerlines work.

Please attribute to City Mayor John Collins
Is Council disappointed the project wont be going ahead on schedule?

This is a subject that is frustrating sections of the community but it is important to understand the depth of the exercise, which is occurring during arguably one of the greatest advances in the state’s development in forty years. Therefore, projects of this scope are likely to incur obstacles that could jeopardise them, and at the moment the escalation of costs associated with the project threaten to place it at economically unsustainable levels.

This City, like many others, would like to see the completion of our underground power in
minimal time but obviously that is not possible in relation to the demand statewide. It is the
City’s intention to keep close to our partners - Western Power and the Office of Energy, to
ensure that the project will progress with an end result as expediently as possible. Council is aware of its ratepayers concerns in relation to the costs involved and acknowledges that the delay will ultimately result in a better outcome for residents than would otherwise be the case.

Media contact

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