Private Overhead Electric Line (POEL) Scheme

The Private Overhead Electric Line (POEL) Scheme will see bare-wire powerlines in the highest bushfire-risk areas buried underground to reduce powerline bushfire ignitions.

The POEL Scheme is being directed in areas impacted the most during the summer 2019-20 bushfires. This includes the Local Government Areas of:

  • Alpine
  • East Gippsland
  • Towong

To be eligible for funding, you must own a POEL which is:

  • bare-wire (not insulated more than 50 per cent or covered)
  • overhead (not already underground, or in the process of being undergrounded)
  • located in one of the above LGAs, and
  • in active use (the line is connected and energised)


  • Applications open on Tuesday 15 September 2020
  • Applications close at 5pm, Thursday 31 December 2020
  • Online applications must be completed via the DELWP Application Portal

Start an online application:

To start a new application, click on DELWP's grant online portal here.

To continue a saved application, revisit the portal here.

If you require assistance submitting your online application, contact the Grants Information Line by email:

If you have any queries regarding eligibility or the terms of the grant funding, please email: or call the POEL Scheme Project Team on: 03 9918 7315.



Powerline replacement at Grassmere

Watch this timelapse video showing the replacement of bare-wire powerlines in Grassmere, Victoria. It is one of the many replacement projects safeguarding regional communities against powerlines starting bushfires.

High Voltage Line - working to make communities safer

Experience the replacement of high voltage powerlines in the Victorian Otway Ranges with aerial views showing what works look like from all angles.

See the High Voltage Line video transcript

Powerline Replacement Fund (PRF)

The Powerline Replacement Fund (PRF) was part of the 10-year Powerline Bushfire Safety Program that made available $200 million to electrical distribution businesses and private landowners to replace bare wire powerlines in areas of highest bushfire risk. The Fund closed in May 2019.  

Replacement works targeted Victoria’s most at risk locations determined by specialist bushfire risk analysis and modelling, providing the best safety outcomes to the community. It replaced both High Voltage (HV) and Private Overhead Electric Lines (POELs) in 33 highest priority Local Government Areas.

Project completion was achieved 2 years ahead of schedule and within budget. The PRF project has:

  • Replaced 798 POEL projects, undergrounding 192.8 km of bare-wire powerlines
  • Delivered 65 HV projects, undergrounding 541 km of bare-wire powerlines

The 33 Local Government Areas were:

Alpine Greater Bendigo Murrindindi
Ararat Greater Geelong Nillumbik
Ballarat Hepburn Pyrenees
Baw Baw Indigo Surf Coast
Benalla Loddon South Gippsland
Campaspe Macedon Ranges Southern Grampians
Cardinia Mount Alexander Wangaratta
Colac-Otway Mitchell Wellington
Corangamite Moorabool Wodonga
East Gippsland Moyne Whittlesea
Golden Plains Moira Yarra Ranges

As legislated, a further 2,874 kms of single-wire earth return (SWER) and 22kV powerlines in codified high fire-risk areas will be progressively replaced by the electricity businesses at the end of their engineering life.

Frequently Asked Questions

The PRF was a $200 million program of targeted undergrounding works designed to reduce the risk of powerlines starting bushfires. This was introduced in response to recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Works took place in priority areas determined by risk analysis based on:

  • research
  • bushfire mapping
  • input from Victoria’s emergency services organisations
  • Energy Safe Victoria; and
  • expertise of the electricity distributors.

The program began in 2013 with the final application period closing on 28 February 2018.

No. PBSP funding was not provided for powerlines that were in the process of undergrounding or had already been placed underground.

The undergrounding of POELs was administered in stages according to local government areas (LGAs). The LGAs were selected based on an assessment of highest bushfire risk. The Powerline Bushfire Safety Program made this risk assessment in partnership with Victoria’s emergency services organisations, Energy Safe Victoria and electricity distribution businesses.

Page last updated: 17/09/20