Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian Government’s Bill to give Energy Minister power over AEMO

SA power: Government introduces bill giving Energy Minister power over AEMO, ABC News, 28 Mar 17 By Sara Garcia and Nick Harmsen The South Australian Government has introduced legislation to give the Energy Minister the power to direct electricity generators to turn on when required — a move it says would have prevented the September statewide blackout.

The measure has been born out of frustration that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) ordered a power cut to tens of thousands of homes in February during a heatwave, when a shortfall in supply was looming. A second unit at Pelican Point sat idle at the time, and the Government said AEMO should have directed it to switch on.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the powers would have also prevented the statewide blackout on September 28 as he would have ramped up generation in South Australia in preparation for the catastrophic event.

“We would have constrained the interconnector in the morning as I asked AEMO and there would have been more South Australian generation on,” Mr Koutsantonis said.”[I asked and they responded] there wasn’t a credible contingency to constrain the interconnector.”

Mr Koutsantonis said the powers the Government was seeking currently exist under a state of emergency.But he said he needed the power to prevent a state of emergency in the first place.”What we’re doing is extending those powers before an emergency situation exists to make sure we can avoid it,” he said.”These powers will give me the ability to direct either AEMO or direct generators individually and direct individuals.”That power will ensure that market power is not the driving aspect of our energy security in this state.”

Premier Jay Weatherill said the current system was “broken” and put “profits before people”.”We’re taking back control and putting South Australians first,” he said.

The Government introduced the bill this morning and called on an immediate debate.The Opposition tried to block the debate, but failed.”I don’t mind that they don’t have a plan, but get out of the way and don’t stop us from implementing our plan,” Mr Weatherill said……

March 29, 2017 - Posted by | politics, South Australia

1 Comment »

  1. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    AGL‘s dominant role in the South Australian electricity industry (The Advertiser, 4/4/17) started not with the privatisation of ETSA but with its breaking up into smaller entities.

    Federal Government intervention in the name of greater competition led to the breaking up of Government owned electricity authorities into smaller entities, a process known as “corporatisation”. This disaggregation process was done with heavy financial disincentives for those states which did not participate.

    Disaggregation made no sense for a publically-owned essential service but made privatisation easier. The breaking up of ETSA into a retail, distribution, transmission and multiple electricity generation entities was quickly followed by privatisation.

    It wasn’t very long before we saw companies moving from being electricity retailers to acquiring other parts of the industry such as electricity generation, and vice-versa. This re-aggregation of the industry was not opposed by either state or national regulators.

    An efficient electricity industry will require, either limiting market share and disaggregating the industry or, putting the industry back in the hands of the consumer.

    Dennis Matthews


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | April 4, 2017 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: