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Minister for Energy and Education goes back to the classroom before picking up the tools.

The Minister for Energy and Education, the Hon. Peter Collier MLC, had an action packed day in Esperance today.

The Minister joined students at Nulsen Primary School to learn about energy efficiency and electricity safety courtesy of Horizon Power's newly launched Horizon Discovery Zone (HDZ) website before joining linecrew at a worksite to see some electrical work in the field. A well earned break was finally provided at a community event hosted by Horizon Power to thank stakeholders and community members for their support for the last six years as important electrical upgrades have been undertaken.

Horizon Power's Education Officer Julie Hughes and Horizon Power's frilled-neck lizard mascot, Gilbert, were on hand at Nulsen Primary School to guide students and the Minister through the HDZ website activities. Students then put into practice what they had learned by making human circuits to light up 'energy balls'.

Horizon Power Managing Director Elect Frank Tudor said he was proud to be able to launch the interactive educational website which would be available to children throughout the whole State.

Energy and Education Minister Peter Collier said Horizon Power's new HDZ website provided fun activities designed to teach children the importance of being safe around electricity and understanding how it works and where it comes from.

"The next generation of West Australians will also be well aware of the importance of saving electricity to help the environment through this important initiative," Mr Collier said.

Minister Collier then joined Horizon Power and Transfield Services linecrew at a work-site to watch a wood pole being changed for a steel pole. Approximately $30 million has been invested in network upgrade programs over the last five years in Esperance, Norseman and Hopetoun and a further $14 million was allocated in this year’s State Budget for wood pole replacement or reinforcement.

Mr Tudor said investment by State Government into a number of programs in the Esperance District has delivered significant improvements in reliability of power supplies.

"Horizon Power and Transfield Services completed upgrades to the single-phase rural network in June of this year and we are now focused on a program to reinforce or replace 7,500 wooden poles to deliver further improvements," he said.

"Reliability on the Esperance, Norseman and Hopetoun networks has increased by over seventy per cent in the last six years and I have every confidence further improvements will be delivered."

Minister Collier acknowledged the necessity of reliable power supplies to rural customers and said that State Government is committed to ensuring that everyone in Western Australia, regardless of where they live, had access to the safest, most reliable electricity supply possible.

"It gives me huge satisfaction to see that through the work delivered by Horizon Power and Alliance Partners Transfield Services, we are delivering on this commitment, in what must be acknowledged as a challenging location – a network that stretches for over 20,000 kilometres and exposed to frequent winter storms," he said.

The visit by the Minister and Horizon Power’s Managing Director Elect was welcomed by Farmers Federation President Glen Mitchell.

Glen said the rural farming industry relied on safe and secure power supplies and the investment by State Government into the rural upgrade programs had made a positive impact.

"Our members and other farmers have noticed the changes in reliability and Horizon Power should be commended for the successful delivery of these programs.

"The implications of this work for farming is significant - to operate as a successful industry we need certainty that power supplies won’t be interrupted and the improved reliability performance has provided us with this certainty," he said.

Contact Reference: Horizon Power media line - Phone: 1800 799 745