The McGowan Labor Government has today refused to increase the paltry payment of $80 for residents and businesses impacted by prolonged power blackouts.
Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney raised the matter in Parliament today saying households and businesses in Geraldton and the Mid West had experienced a horror summer with repeated and lengthy power outages.
Mr Blayney said the $80 compensation payment available to families and businesses when the power is out for more than 12 consecutive hours wasn’t enough to cover the impact of the outages.
“This month we have had communities in Geraldton and the Mid West that have had no power for days on end,” he said.
“Of course our first preference is for the Government to improve the reliability of electricity supply to the region, but in the short term they need to acknowledge the inconvenience and cost being borne by families and businesses already under pressure.
“Families are throwing out food from full fridges and freezers, powering back-up generators and are forced to stop their work or studies as they wait – and wait – for grid power to be restored.
“The compensation amount was set in 2005 but the cost of living has increased substantially and $80 covers just a fraction of a home’s food stocks that have to go straight in the bin.”
Mr Blayney said 8000 customers in Geraldton and the Mid West were impacted by the most recent widespread outages in January and February. He has invited the Minister to Geraldton to hear how outages were affecting the lives of those living and working in the region.
“The Minister needs to visit the region and address the spate of power failures. The time our households have to go without electricity wouldn’t be tolerated in Perth so it isn’t acceptable in our region,” he said.
Moore MLA Shane Love has also raised the issue with the Minister directly, asking him to consider changing the payment for each 12-hour interval without power, rather than a single event.
He said fire protection protocols adopted by Western Power in 2013 had completely changed the restoration of power in regional areas.
“The resupply of power is no longer of the highest priority and extends the outage periods,” he added.
“Western Power won’t energise lines when there is a Total Fire Ban in place and this can mean outages extend to several days as crews wait for danger ratings to drop.”