Funding the installation of safer electricity infrastructure in areas of highest bushfire risk.
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The Powerline Replacement Grant undergrounds private powerlines (POELs) to reduce powerline bushfire ignitions and increase community safety. It aims to:
assist in the recovery of areas affected by the 2019/20 summer bushfires
increase community safety by reducing the risk posed by bare-wire powerlines
stimulate bushfire affected economies by generating local jobs.
How does the grant work?
The grant covers power poles and powerlines on private properties that connect the property to the electricity distribution network. The funds cover 100% of powerline undergrounding costs and replacement works, including contractors' engagement, securing product supplies and obtaining local planning approvals.
Applications are open (subject to available funding).
Local Government Authorities participating
To be eligible, you must:
Own a private overhead electric powerline on a property in a designated High Bushfire Risk Area within one of the following Local Government Areas (LGAs): Alpine, Baw Baw, Benalla, East Gippsland, Indigo, Mansfield, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington, Wodonga, and Yarra Ranges.
The POEL must be either:
partially or fully bare-wire or if insulated, subject to a current urgent or significant defect notice
in active use (the line is connected and energised)
overhead (not already underground or in the process of being undergrounded).
Please see the Application Guidelines for further requirements.
The POEL grant aims to reduce powerline bushfire risk and make Victoria’s private powerlines safer in and around the areas affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.
At launch in September 2020, the POEL grant targeted the LGAs (Alpine, East Gippsland, Towong) most affected by the summer 2019-20 bushfires.
In October 2021, the POEL Scheme was expanded into an additional 10 surrounding LGAs with high powerline bushfire risk to increase community safety.
Yes, your POEL can be fully or partially bare-wire.
Yes. You can apply if you have a bare-wire POEL subject to a current defect notice.
You may also be eligible if you have an insulated POEL with a current urgent or significant defect issued by AusNet.
You will need to submit a copy of your AusNet defect notice and defect notice reference number in your application.
POELs are power poles and powerlines located on private properties that connect the property to the electricity distribution network. These are generally for rural properties and various buildings, such as sheds. POELs can be insulated or 'bare-wire' (uninsulated).
POELs start at the 'point of supply'. This is where the electricity distribution network connects to the first pole on your property. Therefore, the POEL on your property may look identical to that of the electrical distribution network.
There are many different arrangements for where your powerline begins. If you are unsure about the arrangement on your property or if your powerline is your private asset, please get in touch with AusNet Services on 1300 360 795.
checked if you meet the other eligibility requirements
photos of your powerlines, power pole/s, electricity meter and defect notice to attach to the online application.
Applicants will be ineligible in the following situations:
where it is reasonable to conclude that the powerline has been rendered defective due to damage directly caused by the owner or occupant of the property or persons acting on their behalf.
works cannot commence within the timeline of the Powerline Replacement Scheme.
Yes. On 25 October 2021, the Minister announced the following program changes:
removed the requirement for an eligible POEL to be at least 50% bare-wire.
bare-wire POELs that are subject to a defect notice, and insulated POELs that are subject to an urgent or significant defect notice, were deemed eligible.
expanded the program into an additional 10 LGAs.
If you applied and were deemed ineligible before October 2021 but think you may be eligible based on the expanded criteria and LGA areas, please contact the POEL Team at (03) 9918 7315 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the funding details?
The following will be funded under the POEL Scheme:
cost of removing an existing eligible overhead POEL
replacement cost with a powerline conforms with the appropriate legislation and regulations
cost of site remediation works is directly related to undergrounding the POEL.
Note: Where it is not feasible to put the powerline underground or where the total costs of doing so, including site remediation, would exceed $75,000 (excluding GST), the POEL may instead be replaced with an insulated overhead powerline as allowed under the legislation and regulations.
The POEL Scheme will not fund the following activities:
purchase of land
routine or ongoing maintenance activities
activities or works which have already commenced or are complete
where duplicate services are in operation or planned for a community participating in the scheme
recurrent operating costs, for example, rent and utility costs, or activities establishing expectations of ongoing funding
activities or works are outside the local government areas targeted by this POEL Scheme or the state of Victoria
regeneration of the land above an undergrounded line.
Funding is made available on a first-come, first-served basis subject to all other requirements in these guidelines. DELWP reserves the right to close the expressions of interest period before the advertised date should the allocated program funding be exhausted.
The applicant must meet all the criteria to be deemed eligible. Successful applicants will receive a notification email from DELWP outlining the next steps and a list of approved Registered Electrical Contractors (REC) for consideration.
Electrical works must be undertaken by an electrical contractor registered by Energy Safe Victoria (Registered Electrical Contractor or REC). Works will be inspected by an electrical inspector licensed by Energy Safe Victoria (Licensed Electrical Inspector or LEI). The relevant electricity distributor will carry out de-energisation and re-energisation of the powerline.
The REC generally manages these additional contractual relationships as part of their quote. DELWP will not be involved in contractual arrangements between the POEL owner and the REC or in assisting the applicant or the REC in organising such matters.
Eligible applicants must seek 2 quotes from local Registered Electrical Contractors (RECs). Further instructions for how to seek these quotes will be provided to successful applicants.
Does Coronavirus (COVID-19) change how Registered Electrical Contractors work?
Registered Electrical Contractors (RECS) and other contractors must comply with all applicable COVID-19 requirements, including vaccination of workers and ensuring a COVIDSafe workplace. More information is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria.
If your POEL is located outside the 13 LGAs, you may be eligible for funding if further funds are available later.
If you think you may be eligible for future funding, please email your details to email@example.com to be placed on a contact list to receive more information.
If your online application is successful, you will receive an email notification from DELWP. All decisions are final and are not subject to further review. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed as to the reason for the outcome.
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.