Alinta sparking

AHEAD of an imminent board sign-off on plans to develop co-generation power plants with Alcoa, Alinta Gas has called for more participation by customers in WA’s electricity reform process.

Alinta Gas manager energy strategy Andrew George said customers were the primary reason for the changes.

“Cheaper prices and better service are intended to stimulate economic development in WA, and the customers can assist the State by getting involved,” Mr George said.

This can be done individually, or through a user representative group, by direct submissions to the Energy Reform Implementation Unit, approaches to retailers such as Alinta Gas, and attendances at conferences.

Mr George said the energy industry needed to keep moving forward quickly, as there was much to do by 2005.

Alinta Gas has now sold more than 100 megawatts of capacity to electricity customers, to supply from January 2005. These are small to medium-sized industrial customers who, Alinta Gas says, appear pleased with both the prices and flexibility of terms now on offer.

AlintaGas is expected to award the construction contract for its first co-generation plant at Alcoa’s Pinjarra alumina refinery this month.

On the gas front Energy Minister Eric Ripper has acknowledged that further delay on access arrangements for the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline could limit investment in gas-dependent industries in the South West and was also affecting those proposing gas-fired power in Western Power’s power procurement process.

Mr Ripper said the pipeline sale process and subsequent introduction of independent gas pipe-line access regulation had caused the current situation.

A ruling is not expected before the end of the month, following a Supreme Court hearing last year when pipeline owner Epic challenged a draft ruling.

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