The impacts of COVID-19 have been challenging, but we’re fortunate that WA has successfully slowed the spread.
As we navigate our way through our new normal, here’s some of the key projects and ways we are supporting the State Government and the WA community get back on track and stay connected.
Supporting major infrastructure projects – Main Roads WA and Public Transport Authority
WA's transport infrastructure is getting a major upgrade – the biggest WA has ever seen. The Building for Tomorrow program is investing billions of dollars in road, rail, cycling and coastal projects which will better connect areas of Perth and the regions and offer more choice in how you want to travel and keep pace with our growing population. To support these projects, we’re relocating, undergrounding and installing new transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Many of the projects we’re involved in have been fast-tracked to create thousands of local jobs, support businesses and help rebuild WA’s economy. To meet the Main Roads WA timeframes, we have a new project team dedicated to planning, designing and delivering these works with many projects expected to commence in late 2020. The key Main Roads projects that have been brought forward include the Mitchell Freeway extension to Romeo Road, the Tonkin Highway Gap project through Bayswater and the Albany Ring Road.
Two big projects in the pipeline include:
- Bunbury Outer Ring Road – this will see the construction of a 27km, four lane freeway standard road that connects Forrest Highway to Bussell Highway. It’s the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the South West and will provide new and improved access to Bunbury-Geographe and the wider south west region.
- Fremantle Traffic Bridge – a new crossing over the Swan River will be constructed for mixed use by cyclists, pedestrians, passenger trains and vehicles. This will replace the existing Fremantle Traffic Bridge which has reached the end of its service life.
Supporting Metronet Perth
Metronet is one of the largest ever single investments in Perth’s public transport, that will connect our suburbs, reduce road congestion and ensure Perth continues to thrive sustainably into the future.
We’re working alongside the State Government and Public Transport Authority to help deliver 72km of new passenger rail and up to 18 new train stations across . As part of this, we’re relocating some of our transmission and distribution infrastructure and constructing new substations.
To support Metronet timeframes, we have fast-tracked our works and there are 15 projects underway that require transmission and distribution work to be completed.
Facilitating more service connections
As part of WA’s Recovery Plan, $34 million is being invested to increase the numbers of advanced meters on the network. The project involves retrofitting 180,000 meters with a communications card to become advanced meters. This is a huge boost, as it will bring the number of network operational advanced meters up to nearly half a million by June 2022.
Our advanced meters are an exciting way forward as they provide our customers with more timely insights over their energy consumption. Having communicating advanced meters on our network give us better visibility of power flows and add an extra layer of safety. If a home has an advanced meter installed and communicating, we’ll receive an alert if there are unusual patterns in electricity flow. This can indicate a possible fault on the electricity supply connection to a customer’s property, which means we can identify a fault and send a team to investigate.
Supporting customers and the community
At the outset, we developed a COVID-19 plan to ensure critical and essential services were maintained for the community. This included ensuring staffing levels across essential functions, such as networks operations and customer experience, as well as adhering to new health and safety protocols and clear communications with our stakeholders and the community.
In partnership with local government authorities, we’re also continuing our underground power programs. We’re working with Development WA to transform the rundown East Perth Power Station site into a vibrant waterfront community. As part of the WA Recovery Plan, the State Government has allocated an additional $16.1 million towards this project.
Supporting our local supply chain
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the global supply chain with shipping delays caused by quarantine procedures at ports, normal trade route disruptions, and severe reduction in air travel and associated cargo.
Over the years, we’ve built a robust and risk-adverse supply chain model to ensure we’re able to continue to work on the network in times of adversity. Our local suppliers have been a great support during these turbulent times.
Since COVID-19 we’ve put the following measures in place:
- Live reporting on materials used for faults and bolstered safety stock holdings of fault equipment
- Ongoing engagement with key suppliers to understand manufacturing and shipping challenges
- Predictive analysis on product range to attempt to understand likely to impact our supply chain
- Identify alternative product / design solutions
As such, we’ve been able to deliver materials to all our crews with no delays to planned maintenance. This has ensured we keep our customers and community connected.
The road to recovery has started. And we’re here every step of the way to help WA bounce back stronger post-pandemic, as we look towards a brighter energy future.