Private Overhead Electric Line Scheme

The Private Overhead Electric Line (POEL) Scheme has been extended to ten new Local Government Areas (LGAs). The eligibility requirements have  also changed.  The Scheme is open for new applications via our Application Portal:

What has changed?

The POEL Scheme has been directed to areas most affected during the summer 2019-20 bushfires. This comprises the LGAs of:

  • Alpine
  • East  Gippsland
  • Towong

As of 25 October 2021, the following ten LGAs are now also part of the Scheme:

  • Baw Baw
  • Benalla
  • Wellington
  • Wodonga
  • Yarra Ranges
  • Indigo
  • Mansfield
  • Murrindindi
  • Strathbogie
  • Wangaratta

In addition, the eligibility requirements for the Scheme have been broadened to include:

  • partially or fully bare-wire private powerlines (including those that are subject to a defect notice), or any insulated private powerlines subject to a current urgent or significant defect notice.
  • The requirement for an eligible POEL to be at least 50 per cent bare-wire has been removed.

Who can apply?

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

  • either partially or fully bare-wire or, if insulated, subject to a current urgent or significant defect notice
  • overhead (not already underground, or in the process of being undergrounded)
  • in active use (the line is connected and energised)
  • located within a designated High Bushfire Risk Area of one of the thirteen LGAs listed above.

Please read the Application Guidelines available below for more information.


  • Online applications must be completed via the DELWP Application Portal
  • Applications are open until 30 June 2022 (subject to available funding)

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.

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


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: 15/11/21