Households across western Victoria will benefit from a $34 reduction in network charges on their electricity bills and a $3.2 billion investment in critical power infrastructure and services over the next five-years under a plan to be rolled out by electricity distributor Powercor.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) today announced its final determination on Powercor’s proposed plan for the 2021-2026 period commencing 1 July.
The approved plan will allow Powercor to sustain reliable, safe and affordable electricity supplies while also building the capability necessary to offer quality services in the rapidly developing energy market featuring greater customer deployment of rooftop solar, batteries and into the future, electric vehicles.
Powercor Chief Executive Officer, Tim Rourke, said while the AER did not approve all the initiatives proposed, the determination provides the necessary funding for the network to invest in the programs which were of greatest importance to most customers.
“This is a good outcome for our customers who will receive continued reliability and additional services at a lower cost,” Mr Rourke said.
“The critical programs will enable greater solar exports, facilitate asset replacements for better network safety, and support new connections in high growth regions.”
Mr Rourke said lower network charges contributed to a slight reduction in revenue which has been capped by the AER at $3.3 billion over five years. This has been made possible by improved efficiencies in the business with AER benchmarking ranking Powercor as the most productive distributor in the National Electricity Market based on operating expenditure.
“We will continue to deliver business efficiencies so as to ensure our customers’ expectations are met,” he said.
The highlights of the AER determination are:
Mr Rourke said with the AER final determination now received, Powercor can finalise a set of commitments to customers to deliver on the outcomes identified through consultation as priorities for the next five years.
“We want our customers to be confident that we are delivering on our promises,” Mr Rourke said.
“Formalising the commitments, as well as tracking and transparently reporting on the results, is important to demonstrating that our customers are at the centre of our business.”
Another outcome of the consultation program conducted for the regulatory reset will be the launch in July of a new Customer Service Incentive Scheme. This provides broad and transparent performance measures designed to drive further improvements for customers. It will measure the length and frequency of planned outages, timeliness of SMS notifications (regarding unplanned outages) as well as the length of time it takes to answer our customer calls.
As regulated business, Powercor’s proposed investments, pricing plans and rate of return are approved by the AER every five years and this determines the revenue able to be recovered from customers.
The AER’s final determination is available at https://www.aer.gov.au/news-release/revenue-forelectricity-businesses-supports-customers-and-networks