SA Power Networks has made a submission to the SA Government to maintain its current arrangements for notifying customers of planned work.
Currently, under a State Government approved exemption to the National Electricity Customer Framework (NECF), SA Power Networks is not required to notify customers of planned outages of less than 15 minutes.
This exemption is due to expire on 30 June 2015.
SA Power Networks has requested that the exemption be retained and believes customers will be disadvantaged if it is not.
“First – and our main concern is that the change could lead to longer outages in cases where we have identified an equipment issue that requires urgent repair. Currently, when our crews identify an urgent issue that requires an outage of less than 15 minutes to repair, they can do the repairs on the spot. Under the NECF proposal we would be required to go away and give customer’s four days notice prior to undertaking the work. In the meantime if the equipment does fail customers would experience an unplanned outage of much longer duration (of several hours).
“Second – there are potential inefficiencies in terms of small jobs undertaken by SA Power Networks. For example, a meter replacement requires a short outage of about ten minutes. Currently if a customer is home we will ask them if it is convenient to undertake the work and it will proceed if they agree. If no one is home, the work is undertaken and a notice left advising of that. Under the proposed change we would have to make appointments for meter changes with four days notice, which would result in less meters being replaced each day and higher administrative costs.
“Third – our initial estimate is that notifying for all planned outages of less than 15 minutes will incur additional administrative costs – an ongoing operational/administrative cost that the Regulator would be required to include in our revenues as it would be a regulatory obligation that we would need to fulfill.”