Attempts by Labor to head off looming summer power shortages have failed with South Australian households and businesses still facing random blackouts this summer.
“Today NEMMCO confirmed that South Australia and Victoria will still face a daily deficit of 125 megawatts of electricity during summer after a ‘buy back’ from large commercial users and energy traders failed to yield the required 500 megawatts a day,” Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today.
“And not only will South Australian families and businesses continue to live with the threat of blackouts, they will have to pay their share of the $5 million bill for the extra electricity as well. NEMMCO have also warned the cost could exceed $5 million.”
Mr Lucas said the continuing shortfall and threat of widespread blackouts statewide was a consequence of Labor’s failure to manage the state’s electricity industry.
“This electricity crisis has not snuck up on the Rann Government. Minister Pat Conlon and his Labor Cabinet colleagues have been fully aware of mounting summer shortfalls for the past four years.
“Prior to the last election, Mr Rann promised that he would build an interconnector to the eastern states and also promised cheaper power prices. Mr Rann has broken both promises.
“One solution would have been to encourage the private sector to invest in extra generating capacity. But in its four years in office the Rann Government has failed to get a single significant new gas- or coal-fired generation plant built in South Australia.”
Mr Lucas said Labor’s claims that the Basslink interconnector with Tasmania would be a guaranteed source of additional power for South Australia were deceptive.
“The fact is that Basslink has not yet been fully commissioned and is not included in NEMMCO’s safety net calculations, and industry sources have advised supply cannot be absolutely guaranteed,” he said. “Some industry commentators have also advised that Tasmania might need Basslink to import power from the mainland not to export it.
One additional concern for power supply in South Australia is that actual electricity usage in Victoria over the holiday period has been considerably higher than NEMMCO and other authorities had estimated.
“Regardless of the spin Labor has failed miserably to manage the state’s power supplies and South Australians still face a summer of uncertainty and possible blackouts.”