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Beyond the expected

Want your power lines underground? It’ll cost you…

By johnboy - 3 June 2009 42

The ABC reports that ActewAGL are toying with getting homeowners to pay for the privelige of having their powerlines run underground.

    ActewAGL says putting in an underground network in Canberra’s older suburbs would cost several thousand dollars per house.

    But the move would increase the value of a home by almost 3 per cent.

    Mick Charlton from ActewAGL says that is in excess of the benefits to the company and it is seeking help from the public.

It seems to be just in the kite-flying stages right now with this line from Mick Charlton a real highlight in the annals of corporate communication:

    That’s why we’re looking at all sorts of options and hence the survey that we’re sort of planning to do. To sort of get a feel from the public of whether there’d be any interest in some contribution from the customers at all.

Sort of eh?

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Want your power lines underground? It’ll cost you…
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The cat did it 1:16 pm 04 Jun 09

Underground is the obvious way to go, but it needs to be done so that it allows room for expansion. IIRC early undergrounding in places like Bruce didn’t allow easy addition of data cable, so TransACT avoided the area. There are big questions over who owns what- the poles, and the various bits of cable and other hardware that are hung off them, and these ownership issues will determine the financial viability of keeping poles or going underground.

The NBN angle is interesting, though. Likely to depend on whether TransACT can do a deal with the NBN to use the existing fibre network.

p1 12:49 pm 04 Jun 09

Thumper and Kramer, do you imagine that expenses incurred by the electricity distributor in maintaining the network aren’t usually passed on through the prices we pay?

In theory yes, but in reality I suspect that if ActewAGL were to have to greatly increase their spending on maintenance, they wouldn’t just go, “oh well, we’ll just spend some of the profit…”. They would want to somehow get the extra money from somewhere so that profits stay the same. And since they can’t just charge more for electrickery, they’ll try to charge for the undergrounding.

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