On 18 March 2019 the Northern Territory Government announced funding to underground power supply to nine Darwin suburban schools.

This will see almost every Darwin suburb that has above ground power receive a benefit from the re-started underground power program.

The works will provide added security and reliability of power supply with the network being more resilient to extreme weather and electrical storms.

During severe weather events these works may help schools to avoid losing power, enabling them to remain open and provide safe environments for students while recovery efforts are underway.

It is expected to take approximately two years to complete the undergrounding of power supply to nine Darwin schools.

The proposed order of schools to be connected to underground power, subject to constructability is:

  • Wagaman Primary School
  • Nemarluk School
  • Alawa Primary School
  • Larrakeyah Primary School
  • Moil Primary School
  • Jingili Primary School
  • Stuart Park Primary School
  • Parap Primary School
  • St Johns College.

The undergrounding works will involve excavating, drilling, backfilling and reinstating of roads, verges, footpaths and driveways.

While Power and Water will endeavour to keep any disruption to a minimum during this project, it is acknowledged that undergrounding of power infrastructure will bring some disruptions to suburban homes and neighbourhoods.

Undergrounding works will commence on site in Wagaman in July 2019.

Darwin’s previous undergrounding power project commenced in July 2002. The suburbs of Nightcliff, Rapid Creek and Millner were completed when funding ceased in 2010.

More detailed information about the current works will be available as the project progresses.

Frequently asked questions

Power and Water, with contractors Mousellis and Sons, has scheduled undergrounding works to start in Wagaman the week commencing Monday 1 July and expect works to be complete by the end of July. Works will take place Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm and on Saturdays, 9am to 4pm.

Works will start in Vanderlin Drive (34-46, even numbers only), then move on to Klein Street (4-18, even numbers only), crossing Carpentier Crescent (60) and Wagaman Terrace (32) to the school. See the map.

The order of schools is based on frequency and duration of power interruptions in the suburb and the ease/difficulty of construction.

The duration of undergrounding works in a suburb may range from a few weeks to a couple of months. This depends on the distance to be undergrounded and the ease/difficulty of construction.

The proposed order of schools, subject to constructability, is shown below.

School

Suburb

Works start

Works finish

Wagaman Primary School

Wagaman

Jul 19

Jul 19

Nemarluk School

Alawa

Sep 19

Oct 19

Alawa Primary School

Alawa

Oct 19

Oct 19

Larrakeyah Primary School

Larrakeyah

Nov 19

Nov 19

Moil Primary School

Moil

Dec 19

Jan 20

Jingili Primary School

Jingili

Feb 20

Mar 20

Stuart Park Primary School

Stuart Park

Jul 20

Sep 20

Parap Primary School

Parap

Oct 20

Dec 20

St Johns College

The Gardens

Feb 21

Apr 21

The Northern Territory Government has provided funding specifically to underground power supply to nine Darwin suburban schools.

Undergrounding power supply to the schools will see almost every Darwin residential suburb that has above ground power receive a benefit from this project. During severe weather events this work will help schools to avoid losing power and enable them to remain open, providing safe environments for children while recovery efforts occur.

The schools underground connection funding does not allow for private property connections.

Underground cables will be installed to provide power to the school only. No overhead powerlines and poles will be taken out of service and removed as they are still required to provide power to homes.

The undergrounding works may involve excavating, drilling, backfilling and reinstating of roads, verges, footpaths and driveways. It is likely that the works will produce some noise and dust and temporary access restrictions.

While Power and Water will endeavour to keep any disruption to a minimum during this project, it is acknowledged that undergrounding of power infrastructure will bring some temporary inconvenience to suburban homes and neighbourhoods.

The preferred method to underground power infrastructure is to shallow trench approximately 450mm wide and 550mm deep dug along the footpath/nature strip.

The main steps to put power underground are:

Step 1: Involves digging a shallow trench along the footpath/nature strip, across road crossings and driveways. Conduits are then laid and the trench backfilled with cement-stabilised sand. A concrete cover is laid as protection for the conduits and to serve as the footpath and road crossings and driveways reinstated.

Step 2: Involves installing cables into the new conduits from the existing infrastructure which are then terminated at the schools existing supply point.

Step 3: Involves changing the power supply from overhead to the new underground supply.

Electronic signage will be placed in the area to advise people of the works.

Residents whose properties will be directly affected by the works will also be notified prior to the works occurring. This will be by a letter placed in the letterbox around one to two weeks prior to the works occurring.

Any damage caused by the works will be reinstated by Power and Water or our contractors.

Driveways will be trenched. Conduits are then laid and the trench backfilled with cement-stabilised sand and the driveway reinstated.

Power and Water will pay to reinstate driveways that are disturbed by the undergrounding works.

We will need to temporarily block access to properties on two occasions.

  1. As trenching moves across driveways and access gates.
    We expect the access interruption to only last for a couple of hours – long enough to trench, lay the conduit and backfill the trench.
  2. As the driveway and footpath is reinstated.
    We expect this access interruption to last long enough for the cement to dry. However, we can lay steel plates across the trench where needed.

No power supply interruptions are anticipated as a result of these works.

Since the late 70s, all new urban residential developments have been required to have underground power. Today, around half of Darwin customers are supplied by underground power infrastructure.