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