Power project ‘on track, on budget’
Progress made on the Pilbara Underground Power Project and its near-completion in Karratha was acknowledged by the Minister for Energy and senior Horizon Power representatives last month.
Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor told the gathered VIPs the underground power network was about 75 per cent complete, and would finish in Karratha in mid-2017 when the last remaining suburb of Nickol was connected. He said PUPP had finished in Port Hedland, but would roll out in Onslow at the end of next year and was expected to be entirely completed by mid-2018.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Energy Mike Nahan conceded there had been early problems with PUPP but after a redirection it was firmly on track.
“I must admit at some times I was ready to pull the plug,” he said.
“We continued with it, with Royalties for Regions (support), and it has been worthwhile doing.
“We now have got the project on track, on budget, on time, (with a) new contractor, and (are) more than halfway through. That’s a big achievement.”
“It sets this city up for the future, amongst other investments made here.”
Mr Tudor said the damage cyclones in the Pilbara could do to overhead powerlines had been a key reason for his team pushing ahead with the project. “We have probably had quite a number of incidents up here where we’ve had impacted distribution systems as a result of cyclonic winds,” he said.
“The consequence of that is an extended outage. We have people indoors, without power, without means of communication ultimately.
“We want to avoid that. . . I think part of normalisation is to ensure that (people) have security of supply, particularly of electricity, when you get those cyclones coming through.”
The event also acknowledged the completed roll-out of advanced meters, also known as smart meters, across the State, a move Mr Tudor said had been necessary to update the former decades-old meters to meet modern standards and improve worker safety and the accuracy of data collection.
Mr Nahan said electricity system upgrades were a big part of the Pilbara’s recent modernisation.