The AER has issued its preliminary determination upon receiving the SA Power Networks 2015-2020 energy proposal. SA Power Network has until October to respond with a final decision.

The AER determination sets to establish the level of reliability and customer service to be delivered by SA Power Networks in managing the SA electricity distribution network and, accordingly, set prices to allow for their achievement.

SA Power Networks spokesman, Paul Roberts has said, “We will need to review the AER’s detailed preliminary decision carefully before issuing our considered response to the Regulator as the next step in the process. Our proposal was comprehensive and based on extensive consultation with stakeholders and customers.”

The outcome has been strongly influenced by the Regulator’s views on funding the business and interest rates, which have fallen to record lows.

“We welcome the fact that we have been recognised by the Regulator for our relative cost efficiency compared with other distributors. But we note that the Regulator has not approved a number of key initiatives customers told us they supported or wanted,” Mr Roberts said.

“For example, the Regulator has not funded plans for improved outcomes for the community from vegetation clearing around power lines. It also has rejected proposals to commence a program to ensure continuous electricity supply to CFS Bushfire Safer Places and to improve bushfire management in line with relevant initiatives developed in Victoria in the wake of the Black Saturday fires.

“It also has rejected plans to improve the resilience of the network to more severe and frequent extreme weather events.

“The Regulator also has rejected components of our proposal to ready the network and back-office systems for the ongoing growth of solar PV and the take up in coming years of other energy solutions wanted by customers, including battery storage and electric vehicles,” Mr Roberts said.

“The Regulator also has made some decisions on highly technical aspects relating to funding the business, that will require detailed and considered review.

“We will be making submissions on all these matters when we submit a revised proposal to the Regulator in early July.

“We encourage South Australians to also communicate their views to the AER.”

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