The Benz family are concerned about how a new high voltage powerline will affect their Rosenthal Heights property and outlook, and Warwick as a whole.
The Benz family are concerned about how a new high voltage powerline will affect their Rosenthal Heights property and outlook, and Warwick as a whole.

Power plan fears grow

PEOPLE power is rising in response to an Ergon plan to cut a swathe through west Warwick to build a second high-voltage powerline to Stanthorpe.

The energy giant plans to construct the line on 30-metre high concrete pylons which will run alongside the existing 110KV Stanthorpe line, meaning the easement will need to be doubled in width, up to 60 metres on private property in some places.

While that remains a concern for hundreds of property owners in Warwick and Stanthorpe and in between, for dozens of Rosenthal Heights residents who live near a proposed diversion to avoid suburban west Warwick, the plan means they stand to lose ground as well as outlook for the first time.

The existing Stanthorpe line runs from the Ogilvie Rd substation and skirts Warwick to the north, before heading south from the Warwick-Allora Rd, crossing the highway and running down Newby St and Glen Rd.

To avoid angering residents in that area, Ergon plans to push the new line further west along the Warwick-Allora Road and then south along property boundaries to the highway, linking up with the less-populated Washpool Rd.

But residents there and along the Warwick-Allora Rd - such as the Henry Evans Estate - are sparking up just as much over the Ergon power play.

Graeme and Angela Benz are raising their four boys on their Washpool Rd block and while Ergon remains vague about how much of their land they may need for the new line the family's uncertainty at its impact grows, along with neighbours.

While Ergon has written to hundreds of landowners the new line will affect, Mr Benz believes many have not realised the full impact of widened easements, as well as the new section which stands to affect his property.

"We're concerned about the visual effect a new line with concrete pylons is going to have, not just in our area, but on Warwick as a whole," Mr Benz said.

"I'm just not sure people fully realise what is being proposed - there are also issues of property de-valuation, compensation for the loss of land to easements and the loss of vegetation.

"It's proving very difficult to get information out of Ergon about exactly where the line will run, which side of the road and what compensation will be offered.

"We know the region needs to grow and needs the infrastructure to help it grow, but we and others feel we are entitled to be fully informed."

Mr Benz said the siting of the new high-voltage line near homes could also be a health issue, with the full effect of electro-magnetic fields still unknown.

Ergon has stated the second Stanthorpe line is needed to meet future power demand in Stanthorpe from "farming-related activity" such as irrigation and cold storage, as well as providing an alternate line when maintenance or damage issues arise.

Residents along the proposed route who have spoken to the Daily News but asked not to be named have told of "bully-boy" tactics on the part of Ergon, which has been presenting landowners with written agreements to sign during doorknocking visits.

But a spokesman was yesterday adamant the final route had not been decided, "so any discussions are at a preliminary stage".

"The vast majority of residents along the line route have been accepting of our proposal," he said.

The Daily News has asked Ergon for detailed mapping of their preferred corridors for the new powerline but this is yet to be made available.

Limited mapping and basic information about the proposed 110KV line is available at

Residents can also call Ergon on 1800 067 929.