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Powercor has submitted its Regulatory Proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for the 2021-2026 period, outlining plans to reduce network prices by 6 per cent for households while increasing infrastructure investments to benefit customers in western Victoria.

Powercor Chief Executive Officer, Tim Rourke, said the proposal responded directly to customer needs, expectations and priorities.

“Our plan is to deliver more to customers at a lower cost,” Mr Rourke said.

The plan focuses on mitigating bushfire risk, preventing asset failure, building a network to support growth and accommodating customer choices such as rooftop solar.

Distribution and metering revenue is forecast to be stable at $3,695 million over 2021-2026 compared to $3,694 million in the current regulatory period.

Powercor proposes $2,140 million in capital expenditure (net) over five years, an increase of $175 million (9 per cent) on the current regulatory period. This includes an annual program to replace pole-top assets, fuses and service lines as well as an increase in the number of poles replaced to 20,878 over the five years.

Operating expenditure is proposed at $1,537 million in the 2021-2026 period compared to $1,314 million in the current period, which is an increase of 17 per cent.

At the same time, distribution and metering charges will fall by an average of $24 for households to $407 per annum and $68 for small businesses to $1,610 per annum.

Based on a typical household in Victoria, Powercor’s distribution charge (excluding metering) will represent $357 (34 per cent) of the average annual bill of $1,057 in 2021/2022.

Other major features of the proposal include:

  • $61 million to enable approximately 95 per cent of customers to connect a 5kVA solar PV system with export capability as the amount of installed solar increases
  • Building or upgrading zone substations in Torquay, Tarneit and Bacchus Marsh to support high customer growth areas in the Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong and Melbourne’s western corridor which contribute to an anticipated 136,581 new household connections
  • Conducting $9 million network upgrades to support farming communities in Tyrendarra, Strathdownie, Cape Bridgewater and Gorae West
  • Building new depots in Warrnambool, Echuca and Brooklyn, and expanding and upgrading depots in Bendigo and Ballarat to provide employees with safer, fit-for-purpose facilities that will further improve regional customer services
  • Investing $166 million in information and communications technology integral to all modern electricity distribution networks and offering high-quality integrated services for customers
  • Delivering a $198 million bushfire management plan that includes Rapid Earth Fault Current Limiter (REFCL)-related annual compliance programs and infrastructure developments

More than 11,000 customers across Powercor and two other networks contributed to developing the proposal as part of a comprehensive stakeholder engagement program over three years.

Customers and stakeholders can review Powercor’s Regulatory Proposal at www.talkingelectricity.com.au and to provide feedback to the AER.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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