$10 million Western Power funding an attempt to save face after Blackout Bill’s blunders

WA Liberal Leader and Shadow Minister for Energy, Dr David Honey, has called Energy Minister, Bill Johnston’s announced $10 million-dollar Western Power funding for the electricity network a drop in the bucket.

Minister Johnston said the funding is to bolster the grid network before summer after last years repeated blackouts seen over the 2021 Christmas period and the following January.

Dr Honey said the $10 million was insufficient after it was revealed in the 2021 Christmas Outage Review released in March, that Western Power under WA Labor had spent $368 million dollars less on the grid network than originally planned since 2017.

“Minister Johnston, like many in this Government, make glitzy announcements with double digit figures. The reality is that Minister Johnston has overseen record network-wide underspending of hundreds of millions of dollars.

“This Government has failed to properly maintain the electricity network while in their first year in Government increase electricity connection fees nearly doubled.”

In 2017-18 electricity connection fees were raised by $177.38 per year to $346.53 per year – a 95% increase in their first year of Government alone.

This year, Labor is increasing supply charges to $383.76 per year.

Dr Honey said with this State Government’s increased connection and charge fees, Western Australians should at least be seeing a reliable electricity network in return.

“The age of the electricity network has been increasing over the last five years. $10 million will not go close to recovering the reliability of the network.

“Ultimately, it will be Western Australian families that will be affected by outages, not the Energy Minister,” said Dr Honey.

“Western Australians are not getting value for the cost of the service,” said Dr Honey.