Power reforms for Pilbara
REGULATORY reforms to the Pilbara’s electricity system announced by the WA State Government will allow residents and businesses in the region to soon choose their electricity provider.
Third-party electricity providers will be given access to Horizon Power’s North West Interconnected System, under a fair and light-handed regulatory framework.
The Public Utilities Office has been asked to begin work on the design of the new framework and associated arrangements, with a mandate to finalise details by early 2018.
The Mcgowan government said engagement with industry and other stakeholders would be crucial in developing a fit for purpose regulatory framework that can deliver better outcomes for electricity consumers in the Pilbara region and help drive further regional development.
WA Energy minister Ben Wyatt said he expected to be in a position to take a detailed reform proposal and implementation plan to cabinet by March 2018.
“I look forward to engaging with industry and other stakeholders to design and implement an effective regulatory regime for the North West Interconnected System in the Pilbara,” Mr Wyatt said.
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel also welcomed the move.
“Electricity consumers in this region will be the ultimate beneficiaries from the additional consumer choice that this reform will introduce,” Mr Michel said.
Alinta Energy also supported an open access system. In 2014, it applied for access to the network, but withdrew its submission awaiting a negotiated outcome with Horizon.
Alinta Energy managing director Jeff Dimery said the company had recognised the benefits of open access for Pilbara customers for some time.
“Every day that customers in the Pilbara are waiting for this reform, is another day that they are missing out on the benefits of discounted electricity offers,” Mr Dimery said.
“Alinta Energy has signed up a number of customers in the Pilbara in anticipation of open access and these customers continue to wait to take advantage of the savings available in a competitive environment.”
While Alinta Energy said it was supportive of a Government-led process to ensure open-access, the company had also submitted an application to the State Government seeking coverage of Horizon Power’s Pilbara network.
“We look forward to working with the Government to implement an appropriate access regime as soon as possible enabling us to deliver benefits to customers in the Pilbara,” Mr Dimery said.
Alinta Energy’s newman power station.