Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services; Industrial Relations

    Christmas power review released and outage payment increased

    23/03/2022 12:35 PM
    • Minister Johnston tables independent review into Christmas 2021 power outages
    • Western Power to implement all recommendations
    • McGowan Government permanently increases Extended Outage Payment to $120
    • Eligible Western Power/Horizon Power customers can claim payments and top-up payments, backdated to January 1, 2022

    Energy Minister Bill Johnston has released the independent review into the Christmas 2021 Power Outages by tabling it in State Parliament today.


    The review, undertaken by Australian Energy Market Commissioner Michelle Shepherd, found the Christmas outages (starting Christmas Eve until December 28) impacted 107,000 Western Power customers in the Perth, Peel, South-West and Mid-West regions.


    Western Australians endured record-breaking high temperatures over the four days, resulting in abnormally high-use of air conditioners and fans, which put pressure on the network.


    The report noted these types of events, while historically rare, may occur more frequently due to the impacts of climate change.


    The recommendations of the report include: improving Western Power's planning and forecasting, approach to fire risk management and operational response to extreme weather events.


    It also recommended improvements to customer and community communications, and greater transparency of reliability issues.


    The review found that the State Government approved all funding requests made by Western Power towards capital improvements to the distribution network over the past five years.


    It states there was 'no evidence that investments were delayed or did not occur due to regulatory or governmental decisions'.


    Further, the McGowan Government has permanently increased the extended outage payment from $80 to $120 for eligible Western Power and Horizon Power customers.


    Residential and small business customers who consume less than 50 megawatt hours of electricity a year are eligible if they experience an outage longer than 12 hours.


    Usually, a claim must be made within 60 days of an outage, but as part of the transition to the higher payment, customers have until 5pm Monday, August 29, 2022 to make a claim for any extended outage that has occurred from January 1, 2022.


    Customers who have already made a claim for and been paid the existing $80 for an outage since 1 January 2022 will automatically be paid the additional $40 by April 30, 2022.


    For more information, visit https://www.westernpower.com.au/faults-outages/make-a-claim/extended-outage/ (Western Power customers) or https://www.horizonpower.com.au/faults--outages/make-a-claim/ (Horizon Power customers).


    Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:


    "The Christmas 2021 power outage review has revealed 100 per cent power reliability isn't possible, but improvements can be made to ensure Western Power is prepared to safely manage future events.


    "Importantly, the report noted that over the past five years, the State Government had approved all funding requests made by Western Power towards capital improvements to the network.


    "I have written to the Western Power Chair asking for a timeline of when the recommendations will be implemented.


    "Western Power is already preparing for future outages by rolling out batteries, microgrids, standalone power systems and other network improvements.


    "I look forward to announcing the progress in improving Western Australia's electricity network and thank Michelle Shepherd for completing this review."


    Comments attributed to Christmas 2021 power outage reviewer Michelle Shepherd:


    "The Christmas outages occurred during an extreme heatwave resulting in electricity demand exceeding historical peaks in some residential areas.


    "The outages were largely caused by parts of the network not having the capacity to meet the unusually high electricity demand.


     "While the severity of the heatwave is historically rare, it's expected similar events may occur more frequently in the future due to the impacts of climate change.


     "This report makes a number of recommendations to reduce the likelihood and impact of outages in the future, especially during extreme weather conditions."


    Minister's office - 6552 6700