General FAQs

Overview

Not all questions can be answered at this stage, as detailed construction costs and design details are not yet known and Council has not yet considered those details and determined service charges.  Some of the more frequent questions are listed above and hopefully, the responses will provide the information you need at this time.

What if I don’t want underground power?

The results of the survey of property owners conducted on behalf of the Public Utilities Office indicated that a representative majority of property owners are in favour of the proposal to install underground power, and for property owners to contribute to the cost of the installation.  If Council determines that it will proceed with a project, it is not viable for an individual property owner to “opt out” of the project as all overhead distribution power lines will be removed.

Will the new streetlights go in the same positions as the old streetlights?

No.  Street lighting will be designed in accordance with the current Australian Standard.  In order to meet that standard, new light poles will be positioned and spaced appropriately.  Positioning of new street light poles will be determined during the design stage, taking into account the location of existing infrastructure and street trees within the road reserve.

Will the underground power go all the way to my meter box? 

Yes.  The contractor carrying out the project work will install a new underground cable (private underground cable) within each property and connect it to the meter box when the street main cable has been energised.  The property owner becomes the owner of the private underground cable from the point that it leaves the pillar and is responsible for any future repair or relocation if required.  This illustration shows a typical installation.  Note:  The street cable (shown as “NETWORK”) will generally be only on one side of the street. 

Final-Connections.jpg

 

Some additional information about pillars.  Western Power requires unimpeded access to pillars – clearance of at least 500mm in all directions, unimpeded vertical access and no change to ground levels around the pillar.

Unimpeded-Access-to-Pillars.jpg

 

Where will the green dome go? 

Location of the green domes will be determined during the design process.  Green domes are located in a front corner of the property, just inside the front boundary adjacent to a side boundary.  Usually every second property has a green dome installed, with two adjoining properties being served by the one dome.  There are two sizes of dome, the smaller size being known as a “mini-pillar” and the larger size known as a “uni-pillar.”  Uni-pillars are located in approximately 10% of properties.  It is necessary as part of the operational function of the network to have the larger uni-pillars at approximately 10% of pillar locations. 

Mini Pillar 
Mini-Pillar.jpg

 

 Uni-Pillar 
Uni-Pillar.jpg

 

Do I have to call in an electrician?

No.  All work connected with the project, both within the road reserve and within each private property, will be carried out by the contractor engaged to carry out the project.

Will I get a new electricity meter?

No.  Power will be supplied to the existing meter via underground cable.  Unless the meter is identified during the connection process as malfunctioning, it will not be replaced as part of the project.

Will I have to re-wire my house if I have an older house?

No.  Inspections of existing wiring within existing properties will not be carried out as part of the project.  If, during the connection process, it is observed that any existing wiring is in a dangerous or unstable condition, the property owner will be notified and a report made to the appropriate electrical safety authority.

Who will be responsible for any damage to my property? 

The contractor engaged to carry out the project will be responsible for rectifying any damage caused in carrying out the works.  Complaints from property owners in respect to any damage not being rectified can be directed either to the contractor directly, or to the Town.  The Town will forward any complaints received to the contractor and to the contract manager, Western Power. 

When will the old poles and wires be taken away?

This will be the very last part of the project.  The old poles and wires will be taken away after all properties have been connected to the underground supply and all testing and commissioning has been carried out satisfactorily.  There may be a short period of time where the old street lights are not working and the new street lights are also not operational.  Alternatively, there may also be a short period of overlap where both the old street lights and the new street lights are operational.

Will the roof bracket near my gutter holding the overhead wires to my house be removed? 

No.  The overhead wires to each property will be removed after the property is connected to the underground supply.  The old brackets on properties where the overhead wires feed into the property will not be removed, for two reasons.  Firstly, many of the old brackets and their mountings are decades old and removing the brackets may cause damage to the property.  It is therefore left to the property owner to remove the brackets, should they wish to do so, after the underground project is completed.  Secondly, many of the brackets are located on or near material containing asbestos and it is beyond the scope of the project for the contractor to be dealing with or disturbing material which may contain asbestos on private property. 

Typical roof connection bracket 
Typical-Roof-Connection-Bracket.jpg

 

Will my power supply be interrupted during the project?

Yes.  There will be a short period of outage when a property is converted from overhead supply to underground supply.  Generally about four to five hours is allowed for the changeover, however, the actual outage is quite often much shorter than that.  Each property owner will be notified in advance when the changeover outage is planned.

What if need power on constantly because of a medical condition?

Any property where a person resides who is registered as having a medical condition which necessitates constant power supply will be given special consideration when the changeover is programmed.  The affected resident or his/her carer will be contacted so that arrangements can be made to carry out the changeover without risk to the affected person’s health or welfare.

What are the benefits of underground power?

The practical, aesthetic and improved safety benefits of underground power include:

  • Improved property values by enhancement of streetscapes with the removal of ugly poles and wires thus making the area more desirable to live in.
  • Greater reliability of power supplies with almost total elimination of power supply interruptions caused by storms, trees, birds, vandalism, equipment failure and motor vehicle crashes with poles.
  • Reduction in power supply surges due to overhead line faults and consequently a reduction in surge damage to electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Better street lighting, which can help to deter crime and improve road safety.
  • Reduction in tree pruning and ugly foliage deformation that sometimes occurs to keep branches clear of overhead wires.
  • Safer environment with a reduction in hazards caused by broken wires and people pruning trees near power lines.