Page 656 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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West Belconnen severe storm event—electricity supply
(Question No 631)

Mrs Kikkert asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 11 February 2022:

(1) In relation to guaranteed service levels and rebates concerning extended electricity outages following the storm on 3 January 2022, as outlined in Table s2.1 of the ACT Consumer Protection Code 2020, are customers who experienced unplanned sustained interruptions to their power supply following the 3 January 2022 storm eligible for rebates in accord with guaranteed service levels; if not, why not.

(2) Under what specific conditions do guaranteed service levels protect electricity customers from unplanned sustained interruptions.

(3) Do customers need to do anything to access these rebates, or will they be provided automatically.

(4) What are the steps that must be taken if rebates are not automatically applied.

Mr Barr: The following answer to the member’s question has been sought from Evoenergy, through Icon Water Limited, which operates as an independent corporation:

(1) Evoenergy is communicating with the ACT Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) regarding clause (S11.1(2)) under the Consumer Protection Code 2020 as the event and conditions were outside Evoenergy’s control. Applying clause (S11.1(2)) means Guaranteed Service Levels are not applicable in this instance.

As a regulated service provider, Evoenergy is mindful that all costs associated with managing the electricity network, including responding to extreme weather events, are ultimately paid for by the ACT community. As the operator of the second most reliable service provider in Australia (Australian Energy Regulator State of the Energy Market 2021), Evoenergy strives to deliver safe and reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost.

A storm of the magnitude experienced on 3 January 2022 is above Evoenergy’s surge capacity to respond to extreme weather events. Evoenergy allocates surge capacity resources and equipment to respond to extreme weather events in a way that balances the need to maintain network reliability and safety, while ensuring it operates its business prudently and efficiently.

In response to the storm, Evoenergy sought and received assistance from other jurisdictions to get the power back on as quickly and safety as possible.

(2) The Consumer Protection Code 2020 Guaranteed Service Levels (GSLs) specific to unplanned sustained interruptions apply where that unplanned sustained interruption is greater than 12 hours in duration. The Consumer Protection Code 2020 includes exclusions where the Utility is not required to comply with a GSL, including events or conditions outside the Utility’s control, and where a Major Event Day boundary is exceeded as defined by the Australian Energy Regulator.

(3) Evoenergy automatically applies rebates to eligible customers and notifies when rebates are paid via customers’ retail electricity bill.

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