Leader of the WA Liberals and Shadow Minister for Energy, Dr David Honey MLA, has called on Energy Minister Bill Johnston to immediately release an action plan that will ensure that the State’s electricity network is reliable for the remainder of summer.

“With more extreme hot weather predicted for early next week, the Minister cannot wait for his announced enquiry into the recent power outages to be completed before taking action.

“It is absolutely critical that the Minister takes immediate action to guarantee the reliability of our electricity network for the remainder of this summer.

“This action plan should detail how the Minister plans to avoid further outages before the completion of his enquiry.

“Based on the weather that we have seen so far this summer, we can expect that we will experience a large number of extreme hot days throughout January and February – the hottest months of the year.

“It is very clear that Minister Johnston’s lame excuse that the power failures experienced right across the State were simply due to hot weather don’t bear scrutiny. It is completely unacceptable to see so many households lose electricity supplies during this period,” said Dr Honey.

“I have been made aware for some time for some time that the Western Power Feeder and Distributor networks are not being properly maintained. Experts inside Western Power know what needs to be done right now to ensure system reliability. The Minister must announce what actions are going to be taken immediately to ensure system reliability and that appropriate funding is made available.

“Under Section 68 of the ELECTRICITY CORPORATIONS ACT 2005, Bill Johnston, as the responsible Minister, can give written direction to Western Power to spend the money required to ensure that know issues are dealt with right now. There is simply no need to wait for a response from the ERA.

“Minister Johnston also needs to immediately release the terms of reference for his announced inquiry and make sure that it is concluded quickly.

“I am very concerned that the announced inquiry is simply a way to distract the community from the appalling state of our electricity networks. We can’t afford to wait months for answers. The inquiry needs to determine if the Labor Government’s forced dividend policy for Western Power has contributed to lower expenditure on maintenance.

“Last year’s State Budget showed that Western Power is expected to return 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.