Targeted Underground Power Program (TUPP)

In November 2022 the Western Australian Minister for Energy announced a new round of underground power projects to place existing overhead powerlines underground.  New projects will be implemented under the Targeted Underground Power Program (TUPP) and this will be a new type of program different to previous underground power programs.

TUPP vs other underground power

The principal difference between TUPP and previous programs is that project areas are selected by Western Power and prioritised for inclusion based on those with infrastructure most in need of maintenance and upgrading being given highest priority.  In previous programs local governments nominated areas for selection based on the desirability of having the overhead infrastructure undergrounded.

The residential and commercial areas of Burswood and Victoria Park which currently have overhead powerlines have been selected for inclusion in TUPP.  The project area will be known as Burswood 53 Project.

The Town has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Western Power and Western Power is currently preparing an estimate of costs which will be within a range of plus or minus 10%.  When those costs are presented to the Town, Council will be requested to determine whether it wishes to proceed to formally agree to commit to the project.

Cost considerations

If Council agrees to proceed with the project, it will be required to contribute financially to it and part of the funding will be raised by an underground power service charge levied on every property within the project area.  Because the estimated cost is not yet known, unfortunately at this stage an estimate of the service charge for each property cannot be provided.  As with previous projects, property owners eligible for pensioner and seniors discounts on their Council rates will have similar percentage discounts applied to the underground power service charge.  In previous projects Council has provided options to pay the service charge over several years.

This matter has not yet been before Council as insufficient detail is available.  Once further details are provided by Western Power a report will be presented to Council for consideration.

Looking forward

If Council determines to proceed with the project, it is anticipated that the detailed design will be completed by January-February 2024 and that the construction phase would be from April 2025 until April 2026.  These dates are tentative and are subject to variation.

The Minister for Energy’s statement may be viewed at:

If you have any comments or questions about the Burswood 53 project, please complete the feedback form: 

Feedback form - online

Feedback form - PDF

You can download a copy of the form and post it to the Town at Locked Bag VICTORIA PARK  WA  6979 or scan and send it to

General FAQs

Western Power has an ongoing program to renew and upgrade its distribution overhead network when assets are coming to the end of their service life. Traditionally, the work involves like-for-like replacement of these assets meaning that old poles and wires would be replaced with new poles and wires.

Replacement of the overhead network with a new underground network has been estimated to be almost as cost effective as like-for-like replacement in recent years.  Western Power has assessed maintenance and replacement priorities throughout the metropolitan area and has determined that an area of high priority is the Burswood 53 TUPP project.

As indicated above under “Overview” Western Power is working towards providing the Town with further details and when further information is provided to the Town, it will be made available to owners of properties within the Burswood 53 project area. 

Project area

What is TUPP?

TUPP projects are initiated and planned by Western Power.  Local Government Authorities (LGA’s) have no influence over where or when these projects should be implemented. The selected projects are in locations with aggregated ageing overhead network assets that are reaching the end of their useful life and in need of replacement.

Instead of replacing the existing poles like-for-like, it is more cost effective for Western Power to allocate funding from their asset renewal and maintenance programs to underground the network in the project area with a financial contribution to be made by the LGA.  The proportion of the LGA contribution to the overall project is determined by the nett benefit to Western Power of having ongoing reduced maintenance costs and power outages caused by vehicle crashes, falling trees during storms, birds and pole top fires.

Every property owner will be charged an underground power service charge which will be determined by Council if it agrees to proceed with the project once further details are known.  Eligible pensioners and seniors card holders who receive a discount on their Council rates will receive a discount to the underground power service charge to the same percentage as the discount applied to their Council rates.

What are the benefits of underground power?

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

  • Improved property values in general 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 reducing power supply interruptions caused by storms, trees, birds, vandalism, equipment failure and motor vehicle crashes with poles.
  • Reduced risk of car crash injuries due to the reduction in the number of power poles.
  • 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.
  • Increased tree canopy in line with goals of the Town’s Urban Forest Strategy Outcomes.

What if I don’t want underground power?

Given the current condition of the network, renewal and maintenance work will be carried out in the area either by replacement of the existing poles and wires with new poles and wires or by removal of the existing poles and wires and replacement with new underground cables and new streetlight poles. The project areas for TUPP have been selected based on the condition of the network and therefore if Council agrees to participate in the project all the properties contained within the project boundary are required to be part of the project to ensure it is financially viable. 

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.  The design will include low energy consumption LED lights.

Where will the new pillar (green dome) go?

Location of the green domes will be determined during the design process.  Green domes are normally located at the 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 different types of pillars, a smaller size green dome and a larger size green dome. Dependent upon network requirements, the most appropriate pillar will be selected to be utilised in each location.


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 network cable has been energised.  The property owner becomes the owner of the private underground cable from the point of the pillar (green dome) and is responsible for any future repair or relocation if required.  The illustration below shows a typical installation.  Note: The network cable (shown as “NETWORK”) will generally be only on one side of the street.  

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.

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 by Western Power 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.

Can I get my power connection upgraded from single phase to three phase as part of the project?

No.  If you wish to upgrade to three phase power you will need to contact Western Power directly.  There would be a separate charge payable to Western Power to upgrade your connection to three phase.

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 Western Power or the Town.  The Town will forward any complaints received to Western Power who will ensure that all rectification and reinstatement works are completed satisfactorily. 

What will happen if my property, verge or footpath at the front of my property is damaged as part of these works? (Will it be reinstated?)

All street verges are video-recorded before any work commences as a complete record of original conditions. Affected verges and footpaths will be reinstated to a condition as close as possible to that which existed prior to works commencing. Should you have any queries about your verge or footpath, please contact Western Power on 13 10 87

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.  There may also be a short period of overlap where both the old street lights and the new street lights are operational.

Will the contractor need to come inside my property boundary as part of these works?

Yes, the Contractor will need to come inside the property boundary. The Contractor may also need to enter the roof space however shouldn’t need to enter the residence.  Should the contractor need to access inside or to the rear of your property, or your meter box is locked, they will contact you prior to make arrangements for access.

How will this work be carried out?

Western Power’s contractor will deliver an installation advice notice a few days before their work commences. This will begin by locating existing underground services in preparation for trenching and underground horizontal drilling of verges to install the new cables.

The underground power cable installation requires a combination of horizontal directional drilling and traditional trenching. Excavation works may occur on the verge in front of your property. Contractors will endeavour to minimise damage to footpaths, reticulation and crossovers wherever possible while keeping disruptions to a minimum.

All work excavations, extruding cables and conduits will have bunting or fencing around them to ensure the safety of local residents. Should you wish to discuss anything about the day to day activities on site then please contact Western Power in the first instance on 13 10 87.

Western Power is committed to ensure that their contractors carry out the work with as little impact on property and occupiers as possible.

Throughout the project you will receive notifications from the Western Power’s contractor to advise you of upcoming works in your street.

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:

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 I 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.

How long will the project take to complete?

The indicative timeline for the projects from Western Power is given below:

Project Design Construction commencement Contruction completion / targeted risk reduction date
TUPP 53 Victoria Park: Burswood August 2023 - February 2024 November 2024 November 2025 (approx. 12 months)
TUPP 101 Victoria Park: Bentley (shared project boundary with City of Canning) December 2023 - August 2024  August 2025 September 2027 (approx 26 months)

Will access to my street be blocked?

This is possible during certain phases of the construction works but access to properties will be provided at all times, except if unforeseen circumstances arise.

Residents will be approached by the contractors if the crossover or driveway area needs to be closed temporarily and alternative access will be provided.

How will disruptions to power be managed?

Residents will be informed in advance of any temporary disconnection of power.

The required temporary disconnect of power is anticipated to allow for the new underground cables to be connected to properties.

The temporary disconnection will only occur during day time

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.

Transmission lines

All overhead distribution cables will be removed.  All power poles except those carrying transmission (high voltage) lines will be removed.  Transmission lines will not be undergrounded as part of any TUPP project.  There are no overhead transmission lines within the project area, the only transmission lines in the vicinity of the project area being within the rail reserve along Kitchener Avenue.

What is the health impact of electronic magnetic field exposure?

Western Power and the rest of the electricity industry have followed interim guidelines for exposure to EMF developed by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Under these guidelines, the recommended magnetic field exposure limit for members of the public (24 hour exposure) is 1,000 mG.  Western Power confirmed that they operate their electricity network, including powerlines and substations, to comply with these exposure limits.  Further information regarding EMF can be obtained from Western Power.


Financial FAQs

TUPP projects are initiated and planned by Western Power. Every property owner will be charged an underground power service charge which will be determined by Council if it agrees to proceed with the project once further details are known. Eligible pensioners and seniors card holders who receive a discount on their Council rates will receive a discount to the underground power service charge to the same percentage as the discount applied to their Council rates.

What is the service charge for my property?

The service charge to be applied to each property within the project area has not yet been determined.  If Council decides to proceed with the project, the service charge will be determined by Council after Council receives a detailed cost estimate and will be dependant on the financial contribution that the Town will be required to make to the overall cost of the project.

When will the service charge tax invoice be sent to me?

The service charge may appear on your 2025/2026 rate notice or possibly on your 2026/2027 rate notice dependant on confirmed construction dates and approval by Council.

What if I can’t pay the service charge in one hit, can I pay it off over a period of time?

In previous projects Council has provided the option of paying the service charge over a number of years.  If Council approves an extended payment option and it is chosen as your preferred payment option, your service charge will be divided into equal instalments payable annually over the extent of the payment option number of years approved by Council.

If I pay the service charge over an extended period, what would the interest rate be?

An interest rate has not yet been determined for an extended payment option, however it is likely that an interest rate would be applied to cover administrative costs and the interest that the Town would be required to pay on money borrowed to meet its financial contributions obligations to the project.  No interest would be charged if the service charge is paid in full.

As with rates notices, interest will be charged if payment is not received on the invoice due date.

Does the Town contribute anything financially towards the project?

This is a matter for Council to determine and will be considered when the total project cost estimate is known and when it is known what financial contribution the Town would be required to make to the project.

What if I refuse to pay the service charge?

Once the underground power service charge is issued, it becomes a charge on the property in the same manner as Council rates are a charge on the property.  Outstanding charges on a property are recoverable by the Town in court in the regrettable event that there is absolute resolve by a property owner to not pay outstanding amounts in accordance with section 6.56 of the Local Government Act 1995.

What if I sell my property while there is still some of the service charge owing?

Any outstanding underground power service charges on a property must be paid in full at settlement when a property is sold.

What if I sell my property before the project commences, or after the project commences but I haven’t received the service charge tax invoice?

A local government may impose a service charge on owners or occupiers of land within the district or a defined part of the district for a financial year to meet the cost to the local government in the provision of a prescribed work, service, or facility in relation to the land. The owner is liable to pay the service charge to the local government which may be apportioned in accordance with section 6.52 of the Local Government Act 1995.

This provision implies the charge applies from 1 July to 30 June.

It is recommended that property owners considering selling a property within the project area after Council approves a service charge refer to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia and Law Society of Western Australia document titled “Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land” clauses 11.4, 11.5 and 11.6 for further information.

Further information is available at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website at:

What authority does the Town have to impose an underground power service charge on my property?

The Town has authority under Section 6.38 of the Local Government Act 1995 and Item 54 of the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 1996 to apply a service charge for the provision of underground power.

I already have underground power; do I still have to pay?

Yes.  The majority of the cost of undergrounding power is laying new underground cables in the street and installing new street lighting.  Those properties which have an existing pole to pillar connection i.e. an underground cable within their property from an overhead street network via green dome either within their own property or an adjoining property, will be required to contribute towards the overall cost of the project.  In previous projects existing pillar to projects has been acknowledged by a discount to the service charge, although the discount has not fully covered the original cost of installation of a pillar to pole connection.

Will I get a pensioner rebate?

Eligible pension and seniors card holders may receive a rebate in accordance with the provisions prescribed within the Rates and Charges (Rebates and Deferments) Act and must be the owner and occupier of the property as at 1 July for the financial year the service charge is raised. 

Qualified pensioners and senior concession card holders may be eligible for a rebate subject to an assessment by the Office of State Revenue. Pensioners and seniors who currently receive a rebate on their council rates may be entitled to a rebate against their charges for underground power, in accordance with the Rates and Charges (Rebates and Deferments) Act and an assessment by the Office of State Revenue

If you have not registered your pensioners or senior’s concession, please go to the Water Corporation website or contact the Water Corporation on 13 13 85 to register or to determine whether you are eligible. Any applications received after 1 July 2021 will not be entitled to a rebate.

What if I subdivide my property which is subject to a service charge?

If subdivided before the date of imposition of service charge then each newly created lot (including strata lots) will be levied a service charge.

If subdivided after the date of imposition of service charge then the original parent lot will be levied a service charge. 

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