Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Regional Energy Infrastructure

In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS ().15 November 2022).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Energy and Mining has advised:

1. SA Power Networks advises that it spend approximately $300 million per annum in capital and operating costs on maintaining and upgrading the electricity network across all of SA—much of this expenditure is made in regional and remote areas of South Australia.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) determines both the operational expenditure and capital expenditure allowances for SA Power Networks for each five year regulatory period. The AER's expenditure assessment criteria require that SA Power Networks is awarded efficient levels of expenditure to maintain ongoing levels of safety and reliability of the electricity network.

Maintenance and operational costs can be higher per customer in rural and regional areas when compared to those in the metropolitan area however customers in these regional areas are protected by a 'postage stamp' approach to the network portion of their electricity bill.

The power outages following the recent storm were widely caused by falling trees, tree limbs and lightning strikes to powerlines and stobie poles, many startling images of this damage have been circulated in the media.

2. The Australian Labor Party opposed the privatisation of ETSA and during its periods in government has had to fix the mess that privatisation caused.

Privatisation did not only affect regional residents of South Australia. All residents and businesses are paying the price of that foolhardy decision.