Extreme weather in 2016/17 resulted in significant network outages and loss of supply to customers for extended periods of time. Customers, particularly in regional areas, are often supplied via overhead bare-wire conductor making them more likely to be affected by storm activity. Customers located in heavily vegetated areas are also more likely to be affected by strong winds and storms.
In our 2020-25 Revised Regulatory Proposal, we are proposing targeted programs to reduce power outages and improve reliability caused by severe weather events. One way of doing this is to finalise our ‘Hardening the Network’ program - which we developed in response to customer feedback. This program has been ongoing since 2015. Once (if) completed, this program will reduce the length of outages by two hours each year for around 50,000 customers in targeted regional areas across SA.
In its Draft Decision, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) did not support our proposed ‘hardening’ program. Following the AER’s Draft Decision, SA Power Networks consulted further with our Customer Consultative Panel (SAPN CCP) and key stakeholders, and received strong feedback from several stakeholders that the Hardening the Network program should be re-submitted to address the ongoing reliability concerns of pockets of customers (especially business customers), who are impacted by weather events.
We'd like to hear from you - comment below to show your support of this program.