Kimberley Needs Ignored with Horizon Staff Cut

Thursday 18 September

Greens Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC said he was outraged by the government’s attitude towards regional energy security after Horizon Power announced it would be cutting 12 staff, including five in Kununurra, four in Broom and three in Esperance, by the end of this year.

This initial cut is part of the governments larger Strategic Review Program designed to reduce Horizon Power’s subsidy, and which could cut as many as 61.5 staff from the Kimberley, Midwest, Esperance, and Northwest regions by the end of 2016.

Mr Chapple has labelled the program as insulting to regional power customers, who already pay higher premiums for what is often a diminished service.

“It is precisely these regions where the government should be looking to improve power delivery to its customers,” he said.

“I don’t see how they’re going to do that with 60 less staff.”

A table provided by the Minister for Energy lists more than 170 outages in Kununurra over the last two years with an average of 327 minutes per outage, or more than 5 hours, however the Network Quality and Reliability of Supply Code states there should be no more than 16 outages per year of greater than one minute.

The data from Kununurra is greater than the prescribed standards by 1,100% in the frequency and 32,700% in the duration of power outages.

Mr Chapple said Kununurra had the least reliable power supply in Western Australia and the decision by Horizon Power to cut more staff was despicable.

“The community of Kununurra has been short-changed by this government,” he said.

“Nobody wants to pay for a service that is so dodgy it regularly cuts out for hours at a time.

“In some instances residents were without power for more than twenty hours.

“Yet the Strategic Review Program has outlined a total of 14.5 staff cuts that will be made in the Kimberley region by the end of 2016.

“I think it can be safely said that this government cares little for the present, or future, energy needs of Kimberley residents.”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.

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