SA Power Networks’ push to charge customers more prompts Energy Minister to seek advice
28 Nov 2016
The owners of South Australia’s electricity network have taken their fight to charge customers more to the Federal Court after being knocked back by the Australian Competition Tribunal.
South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis described the move by SA Power Networks (SAPN) as “extremely disappointing” and said he was seeking legal advice about what avenues the Government had to make representations to the Federal Court.
AER had ruled SAPN’s could collect $3.84 billion from customers between 2015-2020 compared with the company’s request of $4.53 billion.
The company operates the state’s network of poles, wires and substations.
SAPN told the ABC it believed the tribunal had made “some errors in applying the law”.
“We will utilise our right to challenge those decisions,” a spokesperson said.
Mr Koutsantonis said SAPN costs represented more than 35 per cent of an average consumer’s annual electricity bill.
“It is extremely disappointing that SAPN are continuing with attempts to charge South Australians more for electricity distribution after both the regulator and the Australian Competition Tribunal have rejected their claims,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
He said the company had originally sought to raise $700 million more from customers.
“When you consider that 35 per cent of the average annual electricity bill is made up of distribution costs, that increase would have had a devastating impact on the bills of families and businesses,” he said.
“Enough is enough. There is a reason why two independent national bodies have found that SAPN should not be allowed to charge South Australians more and that is because the increases they are seeking are not justified.”