Tropical Cyclone Veronica came to visit us in March and caused not a little worry as she approached, strengthening to a category 4 system with maximum sustained winds estimated at 195 km/h.
Fortunately for us, the cyclone quietened down to a category 2 system before crossing the Pilbara coast near Whim Creek, but we still had significant winds across the City, particularly on the eastern side, with a maximum gust of 154 km/hr recorded at Roebourne and 124 km/hr at Karratha.
Tropical Cyclone Veronica was the first real test of the underground power system installed through the Pilbara Underground Power Project in the period 2014 to 2018.
During Veronica, approximately 240 Horizon Power connections across Point Samson, the Burrup Peninsula and Karratha lost power out of a total of 8,500 premises.
In comparison, when Tropical Cyclone Christine hit the region in 2013 - prior to the implementation of underground power - approximately 7000 connections were lost.
So PUPP reduced outages by some 97% and those that did occur were due to feeders not in the PUPP scope.
Underground power is an extremely valuable investment in areas subject to cyclonic winds. And in addition to reducing the likelihood of power outages during high winds, underground power dramatically improves safety for technicians and the community throughout and immediately following a cyclone.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our SES teams over the cyclone period, especially for their work escorting Horizon Power technicians on red alert to reconnect power to Point Samson homes quickly and safely.
Wednesday May 22 is ‘Wear Orange Wednesday’, a day of recognition and appreciation for the dedicated work of SES volunteers and I encourage all of you to get involved and show your support.