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Underground power now a reality for the Pilbara

  • Karratha, Roebourne and Onslow power infrastructure to go underground
  • $75million Stage 2 project made possible by Royalties for Regions

All overhead powerlines and related infrastructure in Karratha, Roebourne and Onslow will be moved underground, improving the safety and reliability of power supplies in the Pilbara. 

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman and Energy Minister Mike Nahan today announced an additional $75million in funding from Royalties for Regions for phase two of the Pilbara Underground Power Project (PUPP). 

Royalties for Regions contributed $100million in funding to the first phase of the project, which was completed in December 2013 at a cost of $130million. The first phase resulted in the complete undergrounding of electrical infrastructure in South Hedland, Wedgefield and about 60 per cent of properties in Karratha. 

Mr Redman said the first phase of the project had greatly improved the amenity of the community’s streetscapes and resulted in safer and more reliable power in the Pilbara. 

“This project is an example of how Royalties for Regions is transforming regional Western Australia and reflects the State Government’s continued commitment to regional economic development,” he said. 

Dr Nahan said underground networks experienced fewer outages during cyclones, eliminated dangers associated with fallen powerlines and improved the aesthetic appeal of towns. 

“Pilbara residents may well be used to cyclones and while undergrounding will not completely prevent any power outages during severe weather, it will greatly reduce the number of residents and businesses who lose power during cyclones,” he said. 

“The benefit of the project has been apparent over the past two cyclone seasons.  When Cyclone Christine hit the Pilbara coast in December 2013, 7,000 customers lost power with the worst affected areas being Karratha, Point Samson and Roebourne.  In Port Hedland, where power had been moved underground, only 100 customers lost power due to a remaining overhead component of the network being damaged.” 

Fact File

  • PUPP is a partnership between the State Government through the Royalties for Regions Pilbara Cities program and local government authorities, delivered by Horizon Power
  • Works in Onslow, Roebourne and remaining properties in Karratha - about 2,513 lots in total - include replacement and undergrounding of low and high voltage infrastructure including new cabling, transformers, switchgear, streetlights, property connections and meter board upgrades. The upgrade will also increase electrical capacity of the Karratha network from 11kV to 22kV accommodating demand of future growth
  • Tenders will be issued in coming weeks and work for phase two will begin in Bulgarra and Karratha’s Light Industrial Area within the next 12 months

-Phone: 1800 799 745