09/01/2009 - 15:11

Western Power faces fine over breaches

09/01/2009 - 15:11

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Western Power has been ordered to get its act together by October this year by the independent regulator or face fines of up to $100,000 after it was found to have breached its transmission and distribution licences.

Western Power faces fine over breaches

Western Power has been ordered to get its act together by the independent regulator or face fines of up to $100,000 after it was found to have breached its transmission and distribution licences.

Following an audit of the power utility, the Eocnomic Regulation Authority issued a notice to Western Power, outlining a number of infringements which it must rectify by an allotted timeframe or face further penalties.

The ERA said the company had a backlog of 73,000 power poles which had not been inspected in the last five years and had failed to replace 3500 condemned poles.

The regulator also found that electricity connections required to be made within 20 business days had not been met on "every required occasion", the utility's disaster recovery plan did not comply with industry standards and applicable licence fees were not made within the required timeframe.

Additionally, ERA found that there was a "lack of understanding of key processes... with respect to operational and capital expenditure work programs" by the utility and that its trouble call fault management plan only related to electricity distribution and not transmission.

Western Power has been ordered to fix the contraventions by October 31.

Some three months ago, Western Power submitted proposals to the ERA that included a call for $6 billion of funds for its capital and operating expenditure over the next three years and increase tariffs.

Shadow Energy Minister Kate Doust has called on the government to oversee the rectifications to ensure the reliability of the state's energy supply.

"The Economic Regulation Authority has sent a clear message to Western Power and the State Government that it is concerned with the management of Western Power's assets and their maintenance," she said

"Not only must Minister Collier ensure the required maintenance works are done as a priority, but he must also oversee Western Power's compliance with risk -management obligations and the implementation of a proper asset management system."

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