Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 August 2017) . . Page.. 2780 ..
Questions without notice
MR COE: I have a question for the minister for the environment and planning, in his capacity as minister responsible for advising the government on potential or actual interruption of electricity supply. Minister, during estimates one of your officials suggested that during the forthcoming summer months load shedding of electricity would be required. What assessment has been done and what coordination with our utilities supplier has the directorate made to determine the extent and volume of such power restrictions, and if not, when will it be done?
MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: The minister for the environment and planning, Mr Gentleman.
MR RATTENBURY: Madam Acting Speaker, I actually have responsibility for those matters, so I will take the question on behalf of the government.
MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: In your capacity as?
MR RATTENBURY: Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, which includes the energy portfolio.
MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you.
MR RATTENBURY: As Mr Coe knows, earlier this year, on 12 February, the ACT did face the possibility of load shedding. Measures were put in place in the short term to help the ACT through that day. Through some very good partnerships with a range of major energy consumers we were able to avoid any sort of rolling outages that day. That was because of extreme heat, and the prospect of that occurring again this summer is a real one.
A number of steps have been put in place. At a national level, AEMO is taking steps to address, on a national scale, issues of supply and also putting in place nationally focused measures to address those sorts of problems. At an ACT level, I have asked the directorate to do a number of things. Firstly, they are collaborating with the New South Wales government. Of course, sitting within the New South Wales grid, as we do, it is a very closely related issue. There is a considerable level of communication, including that New South Wales has briefed the ACT on its preliminary findings from the events in February this year. Secondly, I have asked the directorate to come up with a more thorough communications strategy so that if these circumstances do occur in the ACT again this year, we will be better positioned to communicate more effectively with the ACT community about both possible steps they are going to take to assist and also preparation for possible consequences.
MR COE: What are the details of that communications strategy or publicity campaign, and will it be proactive at the start of summer or will it be as and when issues arise, which may limit the contingencies that households can put in place?