SECWA will offer special concessions to customers caught short by increased connection costs under its Rural Contributory Extension Scheme.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said today that the increases would not be passed on if local government permission to build was received or a recorded SECWA quote had been issued in the 12 months prior to December 1, 1991.
"Changes to SECWA's Contributory Extension Scheme from December 1 last year prompted complaints to my office," Dr Gallop said.
"As a result of these approaches I asked SECWA to look into the matter. SECWA has subsequently advised that, as a special concession, it will honour all written quotes provided under the rural supply extensions scheme in the 12 months prior to December 1 1991, even though they normally lapse after a three-month period.
"As a further concession, SECWA will also apply the previous charges to all applications where local government building approval was received in the 12 months prior to December 1.
"This will mean that people who had committed to building projects without knowing of SECWA's new charges will not be facing unexpected costs."
Dr Gallop said SECWA would write to all the people who had received quotes for supply extensions in the 12 months before December 1 but had not taken up the offer.
Of 1,475 quotes issued, 482 connections had not proceeded and these people could now reconsider their position. To be fair, refunds would also be made available to those who had proceeded with connections in this period.
"Connections at the old price will depend on the home being substantially constructed and ready for connection to SECWA's system before December 31, 1992," the Minister said.
"The costs of the work will also need to be paid in advance of line work proceeding."
Dr Gallop said SECWA's connection fees for new homes in rural areas had remained unchanged for 10 years. The increases were in the interests of all of its customers and the State.
The new charges represented the increased unit costs associated with extending the power supply system, although a subsidy still applied to rural CES connections, as in the past.