- Report recommends new model to encourage the development of the Pilbara's electricity infrastructure, benefiting electricity consumers
New rules governing access to the Pilbara's electricity systems will be introduced to ensure all users are protected while also encouraging private investment in the expansion of the network.
The Liberal National Government today released a report recommending major changes to the North West Interconnected System (NWIS). The report, developed by the Pilbara Electricity Infrastructure Project committee chaired by energy expert Lyndon Rowe, recommends the establishment of:
- separate and divested ownership of the NWIS electricity network assets currently owned by Horizon Power
- a light-handed regulatory regime to govern NWIS access, providing protections to users of the network while also encouraging investments in the expansion of the network
- an independent NWIS system operator to improve the efficiency of system operation.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the report found the best opportunity for development of the electricity network in the NWIS was through divestment of State ownership in the network assets.
"A privately owned entity would be commercially motivated and agile to provide network connection for mining and energy sector customers as an attractive alternative to stand-alone generation assets," he said.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said providing network access to third party power suppliers had the potential to provide material benefits to many commercial and industrial electricity customers in the Pilbara, through access to lower electricity prices.
"This will also provide a much-needed boost to economic development in the region," Mr Redman said.
The report also found the other two reforms were necessary to support the development of a more dynamic electricity sector in the Pilbara.
"Further investigation and consultation will occur with industry regarding a fit-for-purpose access regime for the NWIS and independent system operator," Dr Nahan said.
"Both reforms will be progressed regardless of the ultimate decision on the sale of Horizon Power's Pilbara network assets."
- The project committee included Mr Lyndon Rowe (chairman); Dr Ray Challen, Deputy Director General - Public Utilities Office; Mr Steve Wood, Director General - Department of State Development; and Ms Kaylene Gulich, Executive Director - Department of Treasury
- The report is available on the Department of Finance website
Energy Minister's office - 6552 5700