Seven years, $45m to fix power problems

30 Oct, 2003 07:00 PM
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IT could take up to seven years and almost $45 million to fix electricity supply faults identified by more than 270 people across the Wheatbelt to the Office of Energy Safety (OES) in May.

That's the finding of a report by OES director Albert Koenig aimed at repairing rundown electricity networks in the Avon Valley, Koorda, Narembeen, Corrigin and Bremer Bay districts.

Just under half of the problems, first revealed at a crisis meeting held at Koorda in January, related to systemic electricity supply problems including excessive length of feeder lines and too few sub-stations.

The remaining problems were due to local factors such as tree interference, ageing local equipment, unsafe poles and low overhead wires.

Mr Koenig presented a seven-year remedial action plan to help repair the degraded electricity supply network.

He said his recommendations were based on the assumption that funds would be available for the work.

He said Western Power would decide how much of the remedial plan would be funded.

"This is not within Energy Safety's role and is a matter for Western Power to consider," Mr Koenig said.

He encouraged Western Power to make whatever adjustments are needed to its financial plans to accommodate the improvements.

He said the corporation needed to take action to satisfy its statutory obligations in regard to electricity supplies in country areas.

Mr Koenig said Western Power could apply to the OES and request that lower standards of electricity supply quality/reliability be approved for the areas where problems have been identified.

"This could have the effect of reducing the remedial work required," he said.

Mr Koenig said the development of the program, comprising a two-year maintenance and planning-design phase and a five-year remedial action phase was a realistic way of addressing the electricity needs of the areas.

"Western Power has made it clear to Energy Safety that its current capital expenditure plans make no allowance for remedial works of this scale," Mr Koenig said in his report.

More on the Power report, pages 24-25

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