Underground Power

Introduction to the Project

A once-in-a-generation project with Western Power to deliver affordable underground power to the entire City of Vincent is underway, with three areas confirmed and a further five in progress.

The City of Vincent and Western Power have signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year. Detailed design work is happening now. Under the new Network Replacement Underground Program, Western Power will contribute the avoided capital costs (replacing the existing network with overhead assets) with the local government responsible for paying for the customers’ connection costs and any gap in capital costs.

This is the most affordable option for underground power which has been offered to the City and property owners. As part of the project, tree canopy will flourish and streets will be cooler and more walkable. There will be new light posts and LED street lighting installed.

Council’s vision in its 10 year Strategic Community Plan is for the City of Vincent to be a leafy and vibrant 24 hour city which is synonymous with quality design and sustainability.

Undergrounding power will help achieve this vision quicker than any other single project in our history.

The City has formed a rolling fund for projects that benefit the whole community, the first of which is underground power.

Project Areas

Phase 1 - Three Project Areas

As part of Western Power’s Network Renewal Undergrounding Program Tranche Two, three areas within the City of Vincent have been identified as potential locations for underground power, due to their ageing distribution overhead infrastructure and the benefits undergrounding would provide for the community. 

Areas identified in the City of Vincent for possible inclusion in the program are in North Perth/Mount Lawley, North Perth/Mount Hawthorn and Perth/Highgate.

 

Transmission lines will not be placed underground as part of the projects.

Western Power would meet the majority of capital costs with the remainder, including connection costs, to be covered by City of Vincent and property owners. 

The project will be delivered in stages.

Phase 2 - Five Project Areas

The City of Vincent will be looking to sign a second Memorandum of Understanding with Western Power committing to these five new project areas.

The suburbs included in the five new project areas include parts of: Perth, Highgate, Mount Hawthorn, North Perth, Leederville and West Perth. The five new projects have been identified as potential areas for underground power due to ageing overhead infrastructure and the benefits undergrounding would provide for our community.

The specific maps for these new project areas are still be finalised but will be made public as part of the finalisation of the new MOU.

 

Progress

Stages of the project and any updates.

Stage 1 - Memorandum of Understanding signed

The City of Vincent signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Western Power in May 2022 as part of the Network Renewal Undergrounding Program.

The memorandum was the first, important step in the process because it demonstrated our commitment to work with Western Power and the community to bring more underground power to Vincent.

The program targets areas where there is a high density of aging distribution overhead assets that need to be replaced.

Areas identified in the City of Vincent for possible inclusion in the program are in North Perth/Mount Lawley, North Perth/Mount Hawthorn and Perth/Highgate.

Stage 2 - Rolling fund established

The City of Vincent is creating a rolling underground power fund as part of the Budget 22-23.

Council adopted the Budget in July 2022.

A 7.6 per cent rate rise will apply to residential and commercial ratepayers in 2022-23, with 2.1 per cent going towards a rolling underground power fund for current and future projects.

Any funds remaining after underground power is rolled out across Vincent will go towards projects for the community.

Stage 3 - Western Power commits to five new project areas

In July, Western Power committed to undergrounding power in five new project areas.

Western Power is working with the City on another five underground power projects that cover parts of Perth, Highgate, Mount Hawthorn, North Perth, Leederville and West Perth as part of the future NRUP.

It is expected the new projects will cover the bulk of Vincent. Specific maps that outline the five areas are being finalised by Western Power and will be released when a Memorandum of Understanding is signed.

Stage 4 - Proposed primary equipment sites

Western Power are proposing to construct about 28 primary equipment sites across the City of Vincent.

Primary equipment sites include electrical infrastructure such as ground mounted transformers and other equipment for distributing electricity to customers via the underground network.  

As part of the proposal, two existing transformer sites will be replaced and one new ring main unit will also be installed at Hyde Park.

The primary equipment sites are indicative until Western Power confirms in the detailed design phase that they can be installed and constructed safely. 

The City of Vincent is working with Western Power on the location of these sites, following extensive analysis of the network, technical constraints, safety considerations, heritage and environmental impacts.

Artwork and vegetation screening could be installed on the sites to reduce the visual impact of the primary equipment sites.

The City and Western Power will be running info sessions for residents later this year. More information will be released on the City’s website and social media channels.


FAQs

Is underground power coming to my area?

There are three sites in Vincent under consideration for Tranche 2 of Western Power’s Network Replacement Underground Program they are located in North Perth/Mount Lawley, North Perth/Mount Hawthorn and Perth/Highgate.

North Perth/Mt Lawley concept plan

North Perth/Mt Lawley concept plan

North Perth/Mt Hawthorn concept plan

North Perth/Mt Hawthorn concept plan

Perth/Highgate concept plan

Perth/Highgate concept plan


Those areas were selected by Western Power for this pilot program as they have ageing overhead power assets in need of replacement.

If your area isn't included, this is a first major Underground Power project in Vincent, we are in the final stages of signing another MoU for five underground power projects as part of its proposed Network Renewal Underground Program Tranche 3 (NRUP - T3). The suburbs included in the five new project areas include parts of: Perth, Highgate, Mount Hawthorn, North Perth, Leederville and West Perth, which with a few exceptions for big commercial properties will cover entire City.

* The yellow line indicates the presence of transmission lines that won't be removed as part of this project. The blue dotted lines represent the City of Vincent boundary. The pink line indicates the proposed project areas.

Will it cost me any money?

The exact details on cost and funding are not yet available until community consultation and detailed design are completed. It is a more cost effective option for the City than other underground power projects previously presented as it focuses on assets in need of replacement and has a significantly higher contribution from Western Power.

When is it coming?

Construction on the first three project areas could commence midway through 2023 and be completed within two years. We can provide an estimated timeframe on the following five project areas following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Western Power and the City of Vincent for those projects.

What will actually happen on my property/ I’ve already paid for underground power, will I get a refund?

The underground power service charges applicable to ratepayers will have two components: Network services charge (or network infrastructure costs); and Consumer mains charge (connection between green dome and property cost). If you have underground cable installed between the green dome and meter box at your property, we can confirm that you will receive only Network services charge.

What are the benefits?

Underground power delivers lower operating and maintenance costs, improved network reliability and security, better public safety, an improved street appearance and reduced street tree maintenance costs for LGAs, improved LED street lighting with an opportunity for future smart streetlights and enhanced opportunities for emerging technologies. Additional benefits are economical as lower operating and maintenance cost savings Western Power contributes to the project.

Where will the new five project areas be?

The City of Vincent will be looking to sign a second Memorandum of Understanding with Western Power committing to these five new project areas.

The suburbs included in the five new project areas include parts of: Perth, Highgate, Mount Hawthorn, North Perth, Leederville and West Perth. The five new projects have been identified as potential areas for underground power due to ageing overhead infrastructure and the benefits undergrounding would provide for our community.

The specific maps for these new project areas are still be finalised but will be made public as part of the finalisation of the new MoU.

If I have a green dome, will I need to pay more?

If you have an underground cable connecting green dome to your meter box at your property, you will only pay a network services charge, not a consumer mains charge.

Will businesses be included in the roll-out?

Businesses in the Mount Hawthorn town centre have been included in the initial roll-out.

If I'm outside this area, how do I get Underground Power?

The current projects selected for the Network Renewal Undergrounding Program are due to its ageing overhead infrastructure. Western Power is continually renewing and upgrading the distribution overhead network when assets are coming to the end of their service life to provide beneficial outcomes for the community. Traditionally, the work involves like-for-like replacement of these assets, this program enables Western Power to convert the overhead network to underground as part of the asset replacement.

When will we get Underground Power, is there an indicative timeline?

The community engagement and detailed design for construction of each project usually takes approximately 12 months.  Generally, each project is expected to be completed within two years of construction starting.

Will the new streetlights be the same place as current lighting?

It is unlikely that a new streetlight will be placed in the same position as a previous streetlight. With every project, a new LED street lighting system is designed and installed to the latest Australian Standards. Each project is different and the positioning of new streetlights is reviewed during the design stage.

What are the benefits of LED streetlights?

The new LED lights will provide a more uniform illumination of the area and will be brighter compared to the older traditional lights. The light is designed to diffuse and distribute in a more precise manner reducing glare and lighting only targeted areas. The energy and maintenance costs are lowered substantially by having a longer in-service life of up to 100,000 hours.


Find out More

For questions related to the timing of the projects, site reinstatement or construction related activities, please email mail@vincent.wa.gov.au.

More information is available on the Western Power website.

You can send your question(s) directly to City of Vincent via undergroundpower@vincent.wa.gov.au.