Western Australian’s suffering throughout this summer’s heatwave along with intermittent power outages courtesy of a long-neglected electrical grid system, show that this State Budget must begin to fix the problem.
WA Liberal Leader and Shadow Energy Minister, Dr David Honey MLA, said the issue can only be turned around by heavy investment into the electrical grid system to build system reliability.
“Throughout summer we saw tens of thousands of Western Australians experience blackouts – with 107,000 losing power just on the over 40-degrees three-day period across Christmas.
“Prolonged blackouts during extreme weather events are a significant health risk, particularly to vulnerable people with at home medical equipment and those in more remote areas.
“Remote areas also take the longest time to repair any unplanned outages due to their logistics and distance issues. So, it is crucial to particularly focus on making electrical infrastructure more robust in areas away from metropolitan Perth,” said Dr Honey.
“Last financial year showed that Western Power provided a net return of over $416 million to Treasury. Part of that money would go a long way towards resolving the poor reliability of our electricity network. It could also help in providing proper compensation for households negatively affected by the power outages,” said Dr Honey.
In addition to money returned to Government, Western Power infrastructure has seen significant underspend in recent years, with a previous media release from Dr Honey revealing that since 2017, $368 million dollars less was spent on Western Power electrical distribution network assets than originally planned.
Dr Honey continued, “We need to see that $368 million underspend included as a top-up to current plans in the budget as a bare minimum in order to start to make our electricity network more reliable.
“The McGowan Government and Energy Minister Johnston have allowed our electricity network to run down.
“As we soon come into winter, we will see more storms and wild weather that could see our already fractured system unravel further – work on the electrical distribution network needs to be budgeted now and begin sooner rather than later,” said Dr Hone