City committed to delivering underground power and improved lighting
The City of Joondalup will work together with local residents and the State Government, through Western Power, in an effort to completely underground power and improve lighting across its suburbs.
The “Vision for the City of Joondalup Underground Power Program” was adopted unanimously by the Joondalup Council at its December 2021 meeting. It will see the City begin the process of scoping projects to bring underground power to specified areas where it is supported by the majority of homeowners, financially sustainable, and justified with a robust business case.
Just over 20,000 properties in the City, approximately 33% of all City properties, are still connected to overhead power lines.
Lighting improvements will also be a focus of the project. The City’s preference is to ensure all streetlights within its boundaries are City-owned, LED smart-metered lights, seeking to maximise their financial and operational benefits.
In already undergrounded areas, converting existing Western Power streetlights to City-owned smart-metered LED street-lighting would result in increased illumination levels and reduced energy use.
Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said the program would make a huge difference to the future of the City.
“The City is very keen to work collaboratively with all stakeholders on what is a win-win for all parties, and in particular for the State Government to seriously consider contributing to undergrounding of power instead of replacing overhead power assets like-for-like,” Mayor Jacob said.
“A large percentage of the City still has above ground power, and if we can deliver underground power to those areas, coupled with integrating the City’s new modern standard of lighting, the benefits will be felt immediately.
“There are economic benefits, with increased housing values, there is a safety benefit, an energy benefit, and we can have a truly leafy City as it would allow for the planting of proper, mature urban forests.
“Energy-efficient LED lighting will also significantly reduce our carbon emissions, so it really is an environmentally responsible initiative.”
The City will list for consideration during the development of the draft 2022-23 Annual Budget the establishment of a City Utilities Reserve to fund improvements to utility infrastructure, including the conversion of Western Power streetlights to City-owned LED lighting and potentially to fund loans to households for the upfront, one-off cost of converting overhead power to underground power.
“Savings generated from utility projects funded by the reserve can pay back into the reserve and help fund future utility improvements,” Mayor Jacob said.
“This is a major project that all of the Council is behind, but the City cannot undertake it on our own, so we will be seeking the support of local residents and encouraging the State Government and Western Power to maximise its contribution to underground power projects.”
The City will prepare pilot business cases detailing conversion of areas from overhead power lines to underground power and the installation of LED streetlighting, which will be presented to the Council for consideration later this year.