Power break for busi­ness

EN­ERGY

The Advertiser - - NEWS - CHRIS RUS­SELL

BUSI­NESSES such as pubs and res­tau­rants which nor­mally use a lot of elec­tric­ity but which have been forced into hi­ber­na­tion can save thou­sands of dol­lars off their bills un­der a con­ces­sion from SA Power Net­works.

About 300 busi­nesses are ex­pected to ben­e­fit from an ac­count­ing change to re­flect their de­creased en­ergy con­sump­tion in a move ap­plauded by Busi­ness SA.

The mea­sure ap­plies to busi­nesses which usu­ally pay a fixed monthly bill in the tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in net­work costs for their power.

Their usual con­tract in­cludes a cheaper price for the en­ergy they ac­tu­ally use and as­sists the busi­nesses man­age their books be­cause their bills are more sta­ble.

How­ever, this ad­van­tage is lost “when they close or dras­ti­cally cur­tail their ac­tiv­ity, as they are do­ing now,” SA Power Net­works spokesman Paul Roberts said.

Un­der the usual con­tracts, a busi­ness in hi­ber­na­tion might de­crease en­ergy con­sump­tion by 80 per cent but have only a 40 per cent drop in its bills be­cause they would still be pay­ing the high fixed cost of the net­work com­po­nent of the bill.

Mr Roberts said SA Power Net­works was now con­tact­ing busi­nesses to see if they could move on to a dif­fer­ent con­tract which would take ac­count of the ac­tual en­ergy used and save thou­sands of dol­lars.

Busi­ness SA di­rec­tor of pol­icy Andrew McKenna wel­comed the ini­tia­tive.

“The de­ci­sion to al­low hun­dreds of en­ergy-in­ten­sive busi­ness im­pacted by COVID-19, like pubs, to switch (to) de­mand tar­iffs, means they will have min­i­mal bills for the next few months as a ben­e­fit of fixed net­work charge re­lief,” he said.

“An im­por­tant fea­ture of this lat­est move is that it flows more di­rectly given the im­pacted cus­tomers typ­i­cally have monthly bills.”

The ini­tia­tive is in ad­di­tion to a re­lief pack­age for small busi­nesses where con­sump­tion drops to less than a quar­ter of usual lev­els in the June quar­ter.

About 80,000 small busi­nesses in SA may be el­i­gi­ble for the re­lief where net­work charges will be for­gone by SA Power Net­works.

That con­ces­sion along with re­lief for house­holds on hard­ship pro­grams is ex­pected to cost SA Power Net­works about $10 mil­lion.

Pic­ture: TOM HUNTLEY

SHARE THE HELP: Salop­ian Inn owner and chef Karena Arm­strong, and Pen­ley Es­tate chief wine­maker Kate Good­man.

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