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Western Power likes the sound of status quo

WESTERN Power has been accused of lobbying non-Government members of the WA Parliament to prevent any moves to break it up.

Greens WA energy spokesman Robin Chapple told WA Business News that senior Western Power executives had tried to gain his support to block any break up.

“They were the first ones knocking on my door when the Government announced the creation of the Electricity Reform Task Force last year,” Mr Chapple said.

“That lobbying has since ceased.”

A spokesman for Energy Minister Eric Ripper said the Government had been aware of the Western Power approaches.

“We’ve understood where Western Power was coming from. We’re comfortable with it as long as they are not promoting a different policy to the Government’s,” the spokesman said.

New Western Power chairman Malcolm Macpherson said he was aware of approaches but believed they had been misconstrued as lobbying.

“The business has been trying to make as many stakeholders as possible aware that the task force had been created and been explaining the various options,” Mr Macpherson said.

“Western Power had the view that the task force wouldn’t get a broad range of submissions otherwise. It now thinks that the need to make people aware is no longer required.”

A Western Power spokesman said Greens WA was the only non-Government party the utility had approached.

“Western Power took the opportunity to draw the attention of stakeholders to the ERTF, encourage them to study the discussion papers and to consider making submissions,” the spokesman said.

“The presentations were well received.”

The spokesman said Western Power did not present a “no-change” position on the utility.

Mr Macpherson replaced Hector Stebbins as Western Power chairman last month.

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