United Energy’s Sorrento project to withstand peak summer demand

Victorian electricity distributor United Energy has completed a significant upgrade to its Sorrento Zone Substation, with the aim of ensuring safe and reliable electricity supply to the Mornington Peninsula ahead of 2014 heatwave forecasts.

United Energy experienced a mechanical fault due to a premature failure of equipment at the substation last summer, resulting in two separate electricity supply outages in January and March. The distribution business believes the $4 million upgrade will provide improved security of supply to local traders and residents.

The company’s chief executive officer Hugh Gleeson said he is confident the network will withstand peak summer demands.

“We began planning and customer consultation immediately following the mechanical fault early in the year as we recognise the impact significant outages can have on the community,” he said.

“We have seen an increased population in the region in the past 10 years, both permanent residents and visitors, and we acknowledge the importance of ensuring sustainable electricity supply to manage this growth during the busiest time of year.”

Local member of parliament and Minister for Education Martin Dixon joined the Mayor of the Mornington Peninsula Shire Antonella Celi, president of the Sorrento/Portsea Chamber of Commerce Fred Dijkgraaf and United Energy executives to formally launch the upgraded substation.

Mr Dijkgraaf said he had a strong interest in the project, not only as head of the regional Chamber of Commerce, but also as a trader, owning and managing a café in Sorrento.

“Local traders were greatly impacted during the outages that occurred earlier in the year, however, to United Energy’s credit, they have invested in the region and went out of their way to keep traders up to date on developments relating to electricity reliability concerns”, he said.

United Energy distributes electricity to more than 640,000 customers – predominantly residential – across east and south-east Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.