Development application referrals

Under the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS), Energex has a role as a Referral Advice Agency for development applications.

This means we may request Council to impose conditions of approval, and in some rare cases we may recommend refusal of an application.

It is vital that the construction of a new development in close proximity to powerlines and substations does not jeopardise the safe operation of the network, or the safety of the community. Uncontrolled interactions between development and electrical infrastructure can result in injury or in a worse case, the loss of life.

Energex will act as an advice agency in the following situations:

  • Reconfiguring a lot, if any part of a lot is; subject to an Energex easement and/or situated within 100m of a substation site.
  • Material change of use, if any part of the premise is subject to an Energex easement and any structure or work is to be located wholly or partially within the easement and/or is situated within 100m of an Energex substation site.
  • Operational work (filling or excavation) if; any part of the premises is subject to an Energex easement and the work is located completely or wholly within the easement and/or the work is located completely or partly within 10m of a substation site.

For a full list of referral triggers, please see Schedule 7 of the Sustainable Planning Regulations 2009.

State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA)

Under the Sustainable Planning Regulations 2009, Energex is triggered as a Referral Agency for a development that would potentially affect the operation of its electricity distribution network.

For more information refer to the Energex Referral Fact Sheet - July update (SARA).

What should be referred?


Bulk supply substations and zone substations require referral. A Bulk Supply or Zone Substation distributes high voltage electricity throughout the network. The below images depict the general scale and characteristics of a Bulk Supply or Zone Substation within Energex’s Network.

An Energex substation at BirkdaleAn Energex substation


Any easements that are owned by Energex Limited, or Energex's predecessor companies (see list below), will need to be referred to Energex if triggered in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Sustainable Planning Regulations 2009.

  • Barton, White & Co
  • Brisbane Electric Supply Company
  • City Electric Light Co Ltd
  • Southern Electric Authority of Queensland
  • South East Queensland Electricity Corporation Limited

What shouldn't be referred?

Low Voltage Transformers and Service Pillars

Transformers receive 11kV supply from Zone Substations and transform electricity to lower voltages suitable for residential, commercial and industrial uses. Service Pillars represent a physical point of connection for customer to the network. The below images depict the general scale and characteristics of transformers (which can be both pad or pole mounted) and service pillars within Energex’s Network.

A service pillar box11kv pole regulatorA padmount transformer

Referral enquiry form

To make an enquiry regarding Electricity Infrastructure (i.e. Easements and Substation) referral requirements, please complete the Request for Information Form.

Over the 2014-2015 financial year, Energex’s Town Planning Department processed 627 enquiries through the online Request for Information Form.

Energex is committed to reviewing and processing referral enquiries within 5 business days. Over the previous financial period (2014-2015), Energex’s Town Planning Department delivered on this commitment, processing 98% of its enquiries within 3 business days, with 59% of these enquiries addressed within 1 business day.

Energex’s direction to promote and encourage the use of the online Request for Information Form, supports Energex’s aim to provide an efficient and timely process, responding to the needs of the Development Industry.

Making a referral

Referrals should be sent to:

Attention: Town Planning
GPO Box 1461
Brisbane QLD 4001

Alternatively you can email us at

Development application turnaround

During the 2014-2015 financial year, Energex was referred approximately 240 development applications and referral related enquiries, 70% of referrals are responded to within 10 business days.

Protecting land subject to Community Infrastructure Designation

The Community Infrastructure Designation (CID) process is a Queensland Government planning approval process, where by Energex seeks approval of a State Government Minister to identify land for community infrastructure such as a new Power Line or Substation. It is important to protect land designated for community infrastructure.

Incompatible development can make land unsuitable for the purposes it was designated. It can also place additional cost on the community should buildings need to be moved later (e.g. residential buildings within an easement for a future electricity line is not appropriate). In an instance where a Development Application is affected by a Community Infrastructure Designation, the development application is referred to the Department of Energy and Water, who are then responsible for providing a response to the applicant.

As the Department of Energy and Water form the assessing referral authority, Energex are called upon to provide the department with any technical input only, and are happy to receive pre-lodgement responses from applicants to resolve issues prior to lodgement.

Considerations when developing around electricity infrastructure

The following fact sheets provide information to consider when proposing a development around electricity infrastructure.

Document name Last updated
Community Infrastructure Designations Electricity Easements 118.1 KB 16 Aug 2016
Development within 100 metres of a Substation - Noise (Form 8999) 430.9 KB 16 Aug 2016
Energex Referral Fact Sheet July SARA 127.0 KB 16 Aug 2016
Operational Works in an Easement Overhead Infrastructure (Form 8999) 331.7 KB 16 Aug 2016
Operational Works in an Easement Underground Infrastructure (Form 8999) 296.4 KB 16 Aug 2016
Operational Works within 10 metres of a Substation (Form 8999) 287.2 KB 16 Aug 2016
Reconfiguration of a Lot on Land Subject to an Energex-Easement (Form 8999) 545.6 KB 16 Aug 2016