The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has failed Australian consumers by cutting around $1 billion per year since 2012 from electricity maintenance.
Ageing electricity poles and wires cannot withstand the impact of more frequent and severe weather events like storms and cyclones and the poor state of the network means renewable energy systems are often unable to connect to the grid and export their power.
Recently, some communities and businesses have been left stranded without power for days and weeks following weather events.
Ageing electricity assets are also a fire risk. The Royal Commission found that 5 of the deadly Black Saturday bushfires were caused by faulty electrical assets.
Electrical workers on the frontline also face occupational health and safety risks by performing their duties on outdated, failing assets.
With more severe weather events predicted due to climate change, it has never been more important to have resilient energy assets which can stand the test of time.
Yet instead of investing in electrical workers, the number of professionals and managers employed by power companies has soared by 36% from 2006-16. The number of electrical workers employed shrunk by 1.4% over the same period.
It’s time for change
A National Electricity Rule (NER) change needs to be made to fix AER decision making processes and to stop the cuts to preventative maintenance and network upgrades required for climate preparedness and energy transitions.
We respectfully ask that this rule change be made by State and Federal Energy Ministers to protect consumers, the community and electrical workers.