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New appointment expected soon for State power system changer

THE Western Australian Government is about to approve the appointment of a public servant to head the practical transformation of WA’s electricity market.

The executive director to head the Electricity Reform Implementation Unit within the Office of Energy is believed to have already been determined, although an Office of Energy spokesperson said the selection process is yet to be completed.

Likely to be a permanent public servant, the new appointee will report to the Government’s Electricity Reform Implementation Steering Committee as an ex officio member.

This committee was established in January this year following the Government’s endorsement late last year of the Electricity Reform Task Force.

The Government has now committed to the disaggregation of Western Power into four separate entities by June next year and to a new wholesale electricity market by July 2005.

The ERIU executive director will be joining the Office of Energy’s acting coordinator of energy Anne Nolan, under treasurer John Langoulant, Western Power’s acting chief executive officer Nenad Ninkov, Department of Local and Regional Development director general Cheryl Gwilliam, the Minister for Energy’s chief of staff Michael Megaw, Crown Solicitor’s Office deputy crown counsel Tim Sharp, and John Kelly on the ERISC.

Other aspects of the reform process are also moving ahead – the pace drawing admiration from numerous energy industry stakeholders at last week’s Energy in WA conference.

Charles River Associates was ready to report last week to the ERISC on a review of the wholesale electricity market as proposed by the Electricity Reform Task Force.

Charles River principal David Prins said the review was conducted over seven weeks, in consultation with energy companies, Western Power, the Government and other stakeholders.

Frontier Economics is also due to report to the ERISC, on the overall costs of electricity market reform, including the disaggregation of Western Power into four distinct units.

Frontier has been charged with developing a detailed budget for the reform implementation process.

The Government is aiming for general contestability below 50 MW hours per annum by January 2005, and a new wholesale electricity market by July 2005.

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