Underground power

When the State Government developed the underground power program in 1996, it aimed to supply underground power to at least 50% of Perth homes by 2010, with a similar improvement program in regional areas. This target was achieved in January 2010 and by January 2013 more than 55% of Perth homes were connected to underground systems.

This target was achieved by:

  • converting older residential areas to underground power under the State Underground Power Program.
  • progressively introducing underground power in all new subdivisions since 1991.
  • requiring new homes in overhead metro areas to have an underground connection from the pole in the street (pole to pillar - P2P).

Underground power:

  • is safer
  • is more secure in severe weather conditions
  • removes the need for tree pruning
  • improves the appearance of the street 
  • reduces personal safety hazards caused by fallen powerlines, pruning near powerlines and car accidents involving power poles

The State Underground Power Program only converts the distribution system (which comes from the substation) to underground power.

Transmission lines that deliver power to the substations are generally not placed underground due to:

  • the cost, which can be up to nine times that of distribution lines
  • the security and reliability of transmission lines, which is greater than distribution lines, negating the need to put them underground.

Transmission lines are only placed underground if there is insufficient room to build them overhead (eg: the City Centre), or if a developer covers the cost (as in Subiaco, East Perth and North Fremantle).

For new homes or subdivisions visit the land development section of this website.