Eastern CBD Cable Project


We are planning to retire the City East substation as it's reaching the end of its serviceable life. To maintain a safe and reliable electricity supply to Sydney's CBD and surrounding suburbs, the electricity the substation currently supplies needs to be transferred to our Belmore Park substation in the southern CBD. This requires new 11,000 volt underground cables. 

Project need

The City East substation is located close to the Domain car park and the Woolloomooloo wharf. It supplies electricity to a range of customers in the area including businesses and residents.

The substation, built in the 1960s, is the last remaining 33,000/11,000 volt zone substation in the Sydney CBD and is ready to be retired.


Project status

The project is currently in the early planning stage. Ausgrid is planning to install underground 11,000 volt cables along sections of Macquarie Street, College Street and Wentworth Avenue in Sydney's CBD. Given the number of underground services in the city streets and other construction work occuring, the route options are limited. A map of the proposed route can be viewed via the link on the right.

Ausgrid will work with local businesses and key stakeholders during the planning phase to minimise community impacts during construction. This includes engaging with the City of Sydney, the MP for Sydney and community living or working along the proposed cable route to receive early feedback on the project. We are also liaising with project teams from other infrastructure projects in the area and other government agencies as part of this process.

Construction is planned to start in mid 2018 and will continue until 2020. Ausgrid will engage with the community during all stages of the project. 

Planning cable projects

There are a number of considerations that Ausgrid factors in while planning cable routes. These include:

  • community impacts
  • availability of space around existing utility services
  • environmental and heritage impacts
  • cost (minimising the impact on electricity bills)
  • technical feasibility
  • traffic impacts
  • site conditions
  • coordinating works with other infrastructure projects.

Project approval process

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Ausgrid is the determining authority for this project.  An environmental assessment (known as a Review of Environmental Factors or REF) will be prepared in accordance with Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Clause 228 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

The REF investigates the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposal. It also recommends mitigation measures as required to ensure any impacts are at acceptable levels. The REF includes a range of specialist studies and input from the community, council and other authorities.

After the REF has been prepared, it will be placed on public exhibition for comment with submissions from the community encouraged. All submissions would be considered and addressed as part of the process to finalise the REF.  

Community engagement

Community feedback is important to Ausgrid and will be considered during all stages of the project.

We have started engaging with the City of Sydney Council and other authorities about the proposed work. We are also seeking information from surrounding residents and businesses as part of the early planning process to mitigate impacts during construction.

We are seeking this information through a survey, please see link on the top right of this page. If you work or live along the proposed route, we will contact you directly to seek your participation in the survey, however all feedback will be considered and is encouraged.

There will be several opportunities to find out about the project and to provide input through community information sessions, project updates, a 24 hour community information line and project emails. 

Community submissions will be sought during the environmental assessment process. 

Once the project has been confirmed, we will update local residents and businesses with what to expect during construction and more detailed time frames.

Consultation with the local community and stakeholders will continue throughout the life cycle of the project and we will let know how we have considered community feedback at each stage. We welcome your feedback at any time, see our contact details at top right of this page.


Like any construction work of this nature, the project would likely involve noise and dust and temporary traffic and parking disruptions, which we would work to reduce as much as possible. 

Construction would generally include:

  • site investigations to locate existing services and assess ground conditions
  • digging trenches to lay conduits (plastic pipes) to hold the new cables
  • filling trenches and resurfacing the area temporarily. Trenching and resurfacing will take a few weeks outside each property depending on ground and weather conditions
  • excavating underground joint bays at various locations along the route in the road to feed in and join cables together.  Work on the joint bays usually occurs in distinct stages
  • feeding in and joining the cables 
  • final restoration of work areas. This is completed in consultation with local councils and relevant authorities either as sections of work during the projects or once the overall project is finished.