History of underground power in the Town

The Town of Cambridge has been extremely progressive in implementing underground power to established areas.

Cambridge was one of four councils to participate in a pilot program from October 1996 to March 1999. The Pilot Program was designed to trial the installation of underground power with projects undertaken in Albany, Applecross, Cottesloe and Wembley.

The purpose of the trial was to determine issues faced by all participating parties including residents to assist in planning for a more extensive Underground Power Program for the rest of Western Australia.

The pilot area in the Town was a portion of central Wembley including approximately 1,200 properties. This project was completed in March 1999 and was deemed extremely successful by the property owners involved. Results of a satisfaction survey following the completion of the project indicated a 97 per cent extremely satisfied or satisfied rating from affected property owners. This positive feedback has encouraged the Town to pursue opportunities under the State Underground

Power Program (SUPP) to supply underground power to the entire Town.

Following the Pilot project the Town has been successful in completing two further projects in Rounds 2 and 3. Details of the projects are:

Program Area Properties Completion Date
 Pilot Wembley 1,166  March 1999
 Round 2a Wembley/West Leederville 1,981  June 2003
 Round 2b Daglish/Jolimont 24 February 2003
 Round 3 Beach/Mt Claremont 1,630 September 2006
 Total  4,801  

Underground power has been delivered to 4,800 properties in Wembley, City Beach and West Leederville under the State Underground Power Program. Combined with 2,500 that had pre-existing underground power 7,300 (70%) of the Town's properties currently have underground power. Approximately 3,200 (30%) properties remain and the following staging strategy in accordance with the Government's guidelines was adopted by Council in December 2009 to complete the undergrounding of power in the Town.

2010 - Round 5 Underground Power Submission - Central Floreat

The Town submitted a proposal under Round 5 of the State Underground Program in February 2010 for west and central Floreat. Unfortunately the Town's submission was unsuccessful.

A copy of the proposal can be downloaded below.

Central Floreat UGP Proposal 2010(PDF, 4MB)

For this application, Cambridge sought reliability data from Western Power, which indicated Floreat had the highest interruption index across the Town; the current submission focused on that area. The suburb was divided into three portions to fit the project sizes - north, central and south Floreat. It was hoped central Floreat would stand the best chance of selection.

This selection would have enabled underground power installation on large parts of the Town's major roads such as Oceanic Drive, The Boulevard and Cambridge Street.

2012 proposal

In 2012 Town considered a new scheme that, over the next decade, would provide underground power to the remaining properties within the Town that are not serviced by underground power.

The scheme was to be funded by a 10% contribution from Western Power, a 30% contribution from the Town of Cambridge using its cash reserves, and a 60% contribution from individual property owners.

The scheme represented significant shift in the policy position of the Town, which has until now held the position that the Town's cash reserves shall not be applied to the cost of providing State Government infrastructure.

The estimated cost of supplying underground power to the remaining properties in the Town of Cambridge is around $41.6 million. The cost to individual property owners would range from $8,000 to $12,000 for ordinary single residential properties, or $6,000 to $9,000 for strata-titled properties.

In January 2013 the Town conducted a survey of property owners to determine the level of support for the continued installation of underground power throughout the area.

Of the 4,360 affected properties surveyed (ie. those with overhead power transmission lines servicing their property), 1,846 property owners responded with 45% of respondents indicating a willingess to pay.

At its March 2013 meeting, Council noted that the response was insufficient to support progressing the underground power proposal further, on the basis of a one third contribution from the Town.

Council Report CR13.33 - Underground Power Program - Results from a Survey of Property Owners(PDF, 2MB)