Opposition pressure achieves regional power fairness

Oct 20, 2022 | David Honey MLA, State News

Regional West Australian’s pleas for equitable access to the energy supply may soon be answered after relentless pressure placed on the McGowan Labor Government by the Opposition.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle used Question Time in Parliament to ask the Minister about his commitment to upgrading the network to increase supply allocation for regional communities.

“The Energy Minister’s announcement in Parliament of a pilot program to nearly double single-phase capacity to 63kVa for households was a win for regional WA,” Mr Rundle said.

“Regional families and businesses on the South Western Interconnected System (SWIS) have long dreamed of being able to access the same supply their metro counterparts can.

“The regions were blindsided by this change in practice from Western Power and it is a relief to many that common sense prevailed and fairness of supply has been committed to.

“This trial, announced under questioning in Parliament, is good news for regional consumers who in the past have been left disappointed by the McGowan Labor Government.

“It’s great for large regional cities like Bunbury, Geraldton and Albany to benefit and we will keep a keen eye on the pilot program to see if it sparks further rollouts of the boosted capacity, particularly in areas like the Mid West that are prone to blackouts during summer months.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Shane Love said through a groundswell from regional communities, anguish from solar providers and Opposition MPs together they pressured the McGowan Labor Government to recognise the impact of power outages beyond Perth and provide a solution.

“The Opposition welcomes the trial of increased energy capacity in parts of the South West and Wheatbelt but we are disappointed Mid West residents, who suffered frequent and prolonged outages over summer, have been cruelly overlooked,” Mr Love said.

“While this is a start to boosting energy supply in regional WA, more can be done by the McGowan Labor Government to ensure all West Australians see an increase in power supply.”

Shadow Energy Minister Dr David Honey said it is pleasing to see common sense prevail on the issue of capacity restrictions on regional power supply connections.

“The McGowan Labor Government have finally listened to the Opposition’s calls for this damaging policy to be reviewed. The existing policy was having a major negative impact on households and, in particular, risked destroying many renewable energy businesses in the regions,” Dr Honey said.

“The approach being taken to restrict electricity capacity to households fitting solar panels was completely counterproductive, effectively removing the opportunity for regional households to fit solar panels and reduce their power bills.”