Energy Minister must ensure power reliability in the wake of gas shortages

Nov 29, 2022 | David Honey MLA, State News

WA Liberal Leader David Honey MLA has called on Energy Minister Bill Johnston to ensure Western Australians will not incur another Summer of Blackouts, after revelations of shortages to WA’s domestic gas supply.

It was revealed today that Santos’ Varanus Island has needed to cut its energy output after a gas leak was discovered, forcing the closure of the John Brookes platform for four to six weeks.

The closure means Varanus Island’s daily energy output would be more than halved.

Dr Honey said WA’s energy reliability has now been further thrown into doubt after months of failures by the Energy Minister, with WA now on the eve of another hot summer.

“We’ve now seen months of failures by Minister Johnston, from coal supplies running low over winter and now needing to import it from over East, to a shortage of gas.

“It is essential we avoid a repeat of the Summer of Blackouts from last year, but my hopes that we can achieve that are diminishing.

“The multi-week closure intersects directly with last year’s Christmas outages, that on top of peak weather conditions could spell disaster for WA households and businesses.”

Dr Honey said the shortage of coal already meant WA has needed to have an increased reliance on gas, Santos now providing less than half of its daily gas supply, it’s hard to see how the State Government can continue to tell people it’s alright.

“For Minister Johnston to say this shouldn’t impact the South West Interconnected System after so many failures doesn’t pass the pub test, Western Australians need certainty.

“Now the Government are so worried they’re going to be sending text messages to Western Australians to tell them to reduce their energy usage.

“It doesn’t exactly instil confidence in the public that they can keep the lights on, especially after last Summer.

“One thing is clear that if we do see a repeat of last Summer’s blackouts, Minister Johnston must be moved on from his portfolio,” said Dr Honey.