As part of Cyclone Seroja recovery efforts, the Western Australian Government will provide an additional $280,000 in funding for customers throughout the Mid-West and Wheatbelt regions who were impacted by the damage to Western Power’s network.

Cyclone Seroja has presented an unprecedented challenge for Western Power, with the affected area larger than Tasmania. 

Despite Western Power’s rapid response, residents and small business owners in the Mid-West and Wheatbelt have purchased their own generator fuel and others have had to travel large distances for hot showers. 

These costs have not been covered by insurers or disaster relief funds – as the outage is not due to damage to their own property. 

To help with these costs, Western Power will administer $1,000 payments from July 2021 to eligible customers who were awaiting network repairs as at 24 May 2021. 

In addition, Western Power will install 35 Standalone Power Systems (SPS), which will supply power to residents and businesses impacted by Cyclone Seroja.

WA Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “The McGowan Government has acted quickly to ensure no one is left out when it comes to assistance in the Cyclone Seroja recovery. 

“The extra 35 Standalone Power Systems will be located in Latham, Yuna and Nangetty and will be a welcome solution for regional customers who are often impacted by weather events.

“A great example of the technology’s resilience is that six SPS customers in the Mullewa region retained power during the destructive cyclone on 11 April.

“The McGowan Government fully supports Western Power’s clean, green energy initiatives to ensure secure and reliable energy supply in the regions.”  

SPS units combine solar and battery technology, and sometimes a backup generator, and are an economic alternative to replacing poles and wires.

Western Power has contacted customers whose properties are eligible for SPS; generators and fuel have been provided to these customers until their SPS units are installed.

Geraldton MLA, Lara Dalton, said, “I want to thank Minister Johnston for listening to the concerns I have raised about the extra living costs some members of our Mid-West community have to meet, as they cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja. 

“Their patience and fortitude is to be commended, as they wait to be reconnected to the network. I’m sure this $1,000 payment by the McGowan Government in recognition of their circumstances will be appreciated.” 

The SPS rollout supports WA manufacturing, with Hybrid Systems Australia delivering 25 of the additional units and BayWA r.e. Solar Systems delivering ten of the units.

Hybrid Systems recently launched a 16,000m2 renewable energy manufacturing facility in Perth – understood to be the largest in the world dedicated to the design and construction of SPS.

This announcement follows the Western Australian Government’s additional Cyclone Seroja relief packages including: waiving reconnection fees, doubling Western Power’s Extended Outage Payment to $160, and providing $4,000 in funding for individuals whose homes have been severely damaged or destroyed and businesses who have suffered financial hardship.  

Agricultural Region MLC, Sandra Carr, said, “These payments will provide relief to some of the agricultural communities who have been impacted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja from a distance. 

“I would like to thank the Western Power crews who have been doing an excellent job rebuilding the network, and including Standalone Power Systems as part of this work.” 

Since 2016, 58 SPS have been installed with increasingly positive feedback from customers in the Great Southern and Mid-West regions.

In addition, and separate to post-cyclone approved SPS, 98 units will be installed across regional WA over the next 12 to 18 months.

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