Approximately $44 million was invested in three network upgrade programs in the Esperance district between 2006 and 2013 to ensure compliance with all regulatory and safety requirements. Investment by State Government into these upgrade programs has also delivered significant improvements to reliability of power supplies, in particular on the rural networks, where reliability has increased by more than 70 per cent. The wood pole replacement/reinforcement program – the third and final program of these network upgrade programs - was completed in June 2013.
The Esperance District covers Esperance, Hopetoun and Norseman and comprises of three isolated networks. Customers in the district are serviced by an isolated system with a network that covers a huge area - over 20,000 square kilometres. There are a vast number of power poles to maintain in the Esperance district- nearly 25,000 poles spread over 3,500 kilometres of network.
Approximately $30 million was invested in the Esperance Network Upgrade Program and associated single-phase network upgrade programs between 2006 and 2012. These upgrades focused on the rural networks, upgrading infrastructure (including power poles, powerlines and associated equipment). Wood poles were upgraded to steel, ageing poles replaced; the length between poles reduced and ground clearance issues rectified during these programs of works. As a result of these works, the rural network now complies with relevant Australian Standards and reliability has improved by seventy per cent.
A further $14 million was received in the 2012/13 State budget to complete a two year wood pole replacement/reinforcement program of works. This wood pole replacement/reinforcement program was completed in June 2013, within budget and ahead of schedule. In total, Horizon Power has replaced 1,845 wooden power poles and reinforced an additional 5,988 power poles in a two year period through this program. The serviceable life of wooden poles is extended by 15 years if reinforced. As a result of the wood pole replacement/reinforcement program, the safety risks associated with poles older than 40 years and unreinforced poles older than 25 years have been addressed.
As a result of the investment, Horizon Power is now able to manage the asset base within the Esperance district through its normal asset management process.