Opposition welcomes faster approvals for power connections

Leader of the Opposition Shane Love has welcomed the belated announcement of funds to increase Western Power’s capacity and reduce bottlenecks for new connections.

Mr Love said The Opposition had long been calling for the validation unit at Western Power to be expanded.

“Today, the Minister for Energy confirmed that new electricity connections for housing projects would be fast-tracked through a doubling of its team of specialist engineers in Western Power’s validation unit from 30 to 62 staff,” Mr Love said.

“The Minister also detailed several other initiatives, including an increase in the number of transformers Western Power would keep in stock to keep up with supply, new contracting arrangements, and a $10 million investment in customer communications.

“These are significant steps which we hope will see the more than 12-month waiting period for projects to be considered by Western Power become significantly reduced.”

The Opposition has been calling for the Western Power validation unit to be increased since 2022.

“We first asked about delays in the assessment and approvals of projects in Western Power more than two years ago, with former Energy Minister Bill Johnston refusing to even consider taking steps to reduce these bottlenecks,” Mr Love said.

“It’s pleasing to see the new Minister is learning from the mistakes of his predecessor and has finally taken action to fast-track assessments, which should hopefully deliver faster timeframes for everything for major developments to single-dwelling connections.”

Mr Love said he hoped to see the increased capacity in the validation unit lead to better outcomes for consumers.

“I hope this will lead to not only an improvement in the capacity of the unit, but a better and faster assessment system which prioritises projects and ensures simple approvals no longer sit for over a year at the bottom of the list.

“This will be a win for new housing projects and will speed up connections for commercial developments, leading to better outcomes for Western Australians building a new home or do business in WA,” Mr Love said.