The installation of power lines underground starts this week in South Hedland.
The work, being undertaken by Horizon Power, follows the successful connection of more than 120 of their customers in Karratha to a safer, more reliable underground electrical network late last year with further work in the town continuing with connections at Millars Well.
The underground work forms part of the Pilbara Underground Power Project (PUPP) which aims to provide cyclone-prone North-West towns with a safer and more reliable power supply, replacing ageing overhead electricity infrastructure with underground networks.
The project will underground distribution networks in Karratha, South Hedland, Onslow and Roebourne, include new streetlights and demolition of the old network.
The PUPP is a partnership between the State Government (through the Royalties for Regions' Pilbara Cities program) and local government authorities, delivered by Horizon Power.
The benefits of underground power were reinforced recently when Tropical Cyclone Heidi passed through the Pilbara community in January 2012. While power supplies in underground areas were mainly unaffected, approximately 3,600 customers in Wedgefield and South Hedland lost power.
Energy Minister Peter Collier said beyond the immediate safety and reliability benefits, underground power also offered a long-term positive legacy.
"Underground networks suffer fewer outages during cyclones, eliminate the dangers associated with fallen powerlines and improve the aesthetic appeal of towns," Mr Collier said.
"Beyond these immediate and obvious benefits, this upgraded infrastructure will facilitate and support longer-term social and economic growth in the region," Mr Collier said.
Regional Development and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls said the undergrounding project was an important element of Pilbara Cities, a project funded through Royalties for Regions.
"It is extremely exciting for Horizon Power to be able to contribute to this growth in a positive way and play a part in the region achieving the Pilbara Cities vision," Mr Grylls said.
PUPP project will underground distribution networks in Karratha, South Hedland, Onslow and Roebourne and include new streetlights and demolition of the old network
Project to be completed in 2013. More information at http://www.horizonpower.com.au
Contact Reference: Energy Minister's office - Phone: 9213 7150