Lighting up the past: Essential Energy commemorates 100-year-old power pole

23 March 2023

A 100-year-old power pole located in Orange has today been officially recognised with the unveiling of an interpretive historical sign, paying tribute to its crucial role in providing street lighting and reliable energy to the community since January 1923.

The sign, placed by Essential Energy and Orange City Council (OCC), serves as a symbol of the rich local history and the resilience and reliability of the energy infrastructure that has been built over the past century.

Essential Energy CEO, Mr John Cleland, said today was an important step in preserving history while acknowledging the contributions of past Councils and former employees of Essential Energy and its predecessor organisations responsible for standing and maintaining the pole over the years.

"Following more than 40 years of gas-powered street lighting, the 1920’s saw the Council move to locally generated electricity, resulting in the first light pole being stood. At the time the pole represented the evolution of technology and innovation in the energy sector.

“100 years later we are undergoing another energy transformation where Essential Energy continues to invest in new technologies to ensure the network delivers reliable, cost-effective and increasingly low emmission electricity for all our customers and communities”, John said.

Members of OCC, the Orange Historical Society, Essential Energy and past Essential Energy team members were all at the unveiling to mark the special occasion.

“I am confident this historic power pole will continue to stand beyond its 100th year thanks to the ongoing care and maintenance by our local teams and continuing commitment from the Orange City Council and Historical Society,” said John.

Fact File:

  • Essential Energy builds, operates and maintains one of Australia’s largest electricity distribution networks, servicing more than 880,000 customers across regional, rural and remote NSW and parts of southern Queensland
  • Our footprint covers 95 per cent of NSW, traversing 737,000 square kilometres of landmass with 183,612 kilometres of powerline, including 163,417 kilometres in designated bushfire zones
  • The network has approximately 5.1 customers to each kilometre of powerline, which is almost one-tenth the customer density compared with our counterparts in NSW
  • Essential Energy’s footprint also includes 1.38 million power poles, equating to 1.6 power poles per customer
  • This power pole was erected on 8 January 1923, with the help of the Mayor Arthur Colvin. The pole signalled the introduction of electric streetlighting throughout the town.