New laws have been introduced into the South Australian State Parliament in regards to the state’s energy future.
The laws, first unveiled in the SA State Government’s energy plan, will hand the Energy Minister the power to direct electricity generators to turn on when required, putting the interests of South Australian first.
The Minister will also be able to direct the Australian Energy Market Operator to control flow on the interconnector to Victoria.
The SA State Government is suspending standing orders to introduce the legislation in the House of Assembly, where it is expected the laws will progress in the last week of March 2017.
Once the legislation has passed both houses, pending the support of the Liberal Party or cross-benchers, the Government will enact the laws as soon as possible.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said, “The National Electricity Market is broken. It’s a private market for private companies that puts profits before people.
“We’re taking back control and putting South Australians first.
“The events of February 8 told us everything we need to know about this broken market. Faced with the choice of switching off power to homes or switching on a generator, the market chose to blackout tens of thousands of homes.
“Under these new laws, we would have the power to step in and direct available generation on within minutes.”
South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said electricity is an essential service and it is not enough for privately-owned companies or AEMO to turn off customers rather than turn on available generation.
“The market won’t be able to make that mistake again. Once in place, this legislation will mean the State Government has the power to use every tool available to ensure the security of energy supplies for South Australians,” said Mr Koutsantonis.