Town opts to go it alone
THE Town of Claremont will be fully connected to underground power after the council voted to complete the process without State Government assistance.
Having been unsuccessful in applications to the State Government Underground Power Program, the council resolved in February to examine the feasibility of going it alone.
The Town engaged Western Power to provide a preliminary design and pricing estimate, and in May approved a community consultation process with affected property owners.
The Western Power quote estimated a cost ranging from $8.9 million to $10.9m.
The Town surveyed 1053 properties and of the 528 who responded, 80.1 per cent said ‘yes’ to underground power, with households paying for one third of the cost in instalments and the Town paying the balance.
The council has saved up for the project by establishing a UGP reserve, which now holds $3m, and it will need to fund $4.5m from municipal funds.
Rather than use the Future Fund Reserve, the council has opted for a Treasury loan to be paid off over 20 years, at an interest rate of 4.2 per cent
Cr Bruce Haynes said he approached the then town clerk of Claremont in 1981 to encourage the placement of underground power in that area while other works were ongoing.
“The clerk said no, on the grounds it would cost $70,000,” he said.