Underground Power

The City of Nedlands is working with Western Power to deliver the final three Underground Power projects within the City. 

Once complete these projects will see the remainder of the residential overhead power infrastructure moved underground. 

The links below show the extent of each project area, the Underground Business Case and Cost Benefit Analysis.

 

The designs of these three project areas are complete, and Council is undertaking a community consultation and financial analysis to determine when and how these three projects will be delivered. 

To participate in the community consultation on Underground Power and other city projects and development applications, visit Your Voice

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is getting underground power?

The City of Nedlands is proposing to complete the final stages of the underground power program. This final stage will connect approximately 2000 residences, that remain without underground power in the City, to the program. The three areas still to be undergrounded are known as Nedlands North, Nedlands West and Hollywood East.  

How much will it cost?

The total project cost is currently estimated to be $28.7 million. The City is required to contribute about $19 million. Under the City's Underground Power Policy, 50 per cent of the City's contribution is recoverable from ratepayers receiving underground power. The remaining cost will be covered by Western Power.

My home already has an underground connection, or “green dome”, will I still need to pay?

If you already have a ‘green dome’, you will not need to pay the full amount.  You will still need to pay an amount to contribute towards the undergrounding of existing overhead powerlines.  The financial modelling has not yet determined how much this portion will be.

Can I have a "green dome" installed early?

Yes, residents can have a green dome installed before the underground power rollout, if they organise and pay for its instalment.

What are the benefits of underground power?

In a business case developed for the project, benefits identified for the affected areas included increased property values, improved reliability of electricity supply, improved energy efficient street lighting and improved visual amenity.

Benefits to the wider community include improved reliability of power supply during severe weather events, improved visual amenity, improved health and safety (reduced electrical contact injuries, reduced power pole collisions, improved lighting) and reduced environmental impact (reduced herbicides and pesticides around wooden poles). 

More information regarding the benefits can be found in the Business Case and  Western Power’s website

What are the financial implications of underground power?

The business case identified significant costs that the City and affected residents will need to pay.  Recent estimates suggest that the total cost of the project may be around $29m.  The cost to the City and its ratepayers will be approximately $19m, with Western Power contributing approximately $10m.

As part of the City’s Underground Power Policy, the City’s overall funds would contribute 50% of the City’s proportion of costs (approximately $9.5m) and ratepayers in the affected areas would contribute the other 50%.  The City’s contribution would ultimately come from the rates of all ratepayers, but in the interim, the City will potentially need to borrow money.  This would accrue interest and could impact on the City’s future borrowing capacity or its ability to secure future funding and loans.

The impacts of the City portion of funding include opportunity cost (less money would be available to fund other projects within the City, including new projects and maintaining existing assets) as well as additional personal cost to affected ratepayers via an increased charge on their council rates.

More information regarding the costs can be found in the Business Case and Cost Benefit Analysis.

When will underground power be rolled out?

Council is expected to vote on the underground power rollout by August 2023.  If passed, it is proposed for works to commence in 2024.  It is expected to take a number of years to fully roll out and complete the process.

How will the community be consulted?

The City of Nedlands is seeking community feedback on a proposal to complete the final stage of the underground power program.  This stage proposes to connect the remaining City of Nedlands residential and business premises that remain without underground power to the program (around 2,000 properties).  Underground power is one of eight strategic priorities in the City’s Strategic Community Plan (2018-2028).

To help inform its decision, Council has decided to run a survey of ratepayers (both within the affected areas and outside the affected areas) to gauge their views. To ensure the independence and integrity of the survey, Council has engaged a local independent survey company, Data Analysis Australia, to conduct the survey on its behalf. 

Community consultation will open on Friday 26 May and close on Friday 09 June 2023. To have your say visit YourVoice



 Register for YourVoice here

What is the difference between transmission lines and distribution lines? 

The electricity network that services your property contains both distribution and transmission lines that carry electricity around the grid. Transmission lines carry bulk electricity at high voltages from power stations to major substations.  These are located on tall poles positioned at the top of the pole.  Distribution lines carry electricity at lower voltages to properties.

Most streets in the City of Nedlands have only distribution lines, and these will be placed underground as part of proposed underground power projects.

My property is on one of the streets/roads/avenues that will still have above ground high voltage transmission lines. Will I still need to pay?

Yes, you will still need to pay for the undergrounding of power in your area.  You will still receive the benefits of underground power, such as improved power reliability, better lighting, improved streetscape, and fewer street poles and overhead wires. 

The distribution line on a street will be placed underground as part of proposed underground power projects, while the transmission line will remain.  These streets will still receive many of the benefits of an underground power network including improved reliability, security, street lighting, visual amenity and increased capacity to facilitate the integration of more renewables.

If you do live in one of these streets, you may be offered a discount. This amount has not been determined as yet by Council. 

Why don't the Transmission Lines get 'undergrounded'?

Undergrounding transmission lines comes at a significant cost. The undergrounding of transmission lines in the City is not currently part of the project scope. 

My land is vacant. Do I still need to pay?

You will not need to pay the full amount, as you will not need to pay the connection fee.  You will still need to pay an amount to contribute towards the undergrounding of existing overhead powerlines.  The financial modelling has not yet determined how much this portion will be.

If I vote 'no'. do I still have to pay if the undergrounding project goes ahead?

Yes, if the decision is made to underground the power in the remaining areas, all ratepayers in the affected areas will have to make the required payment.  You will be able to choose whether you make your payment in one instalment or over a number of years.

What happens if I sell my property before I have paid the full amount of my contribution?

Any remaining amount of money owing would be payable to the Council on settlement of the property sale (as with any other outstanding Council rates).

How much would I need to pay?

All ratepayers in the affected areas would need to pay.  While detailed financial modelling will only be completed if the project goes ahead, it is expected that the average amount payable for each property will be around $5,000 to $7,000.  It is likely that business properties may need to pay more while units in multi-unit developments (e.g. apartments) may pay less.  Concession discounts may also apply.

What if I can't afford to pay?

Each ratepayer will have the option to pay the full amount in one payment or spread over four years.  If the project goes ahead and you are concerned about your ability to pay, we recommend you contact the Council at that time.

What happens if the undergrounding project does not happen?

It is anticipated that, at some stage in the future, Western Power may replace all areas with underground power.  However, how this might happen is unclear, in regards to both timing and how much the Council might have to pay.

Where can I get further information?

The Council will be running a community information session:

Wednesday 7th June, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Banksia Room

Mount Claremont Community Centre

105 Montgomery Avenue, Mount Claremont. 

The information session is free to attend, please register HERE 

 Make an Enquiry

 Latest News

Published 28 April 2023

Proposed Underground Power Rollout Update

The City of Nedlands is preparing to undertake community consultation on the proposed final stage of the underground power program.

Read More