Power project ‘on track, on bud­get’

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

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