As a special measure, electricity network businesses have today announced a one-off heat relief package for almost 50,000 Victorians who were most affected by the outages during the extreme heat on Sunday 28 January when the networks recorded their highest ever residential demand.
Customers who were off supply for three hours or more during that period will receive the one-off payment. The Chief Executives for Powercor, CitiPower, United Energy, AusNet Services and Jemena said customers receiving the heat relief payments should expect to be reimbursed directly by the network businesses by the end of February in the form of direct mailed cheques.
“We have worked with the Victorian Government to develop a special, one-off heat relief package that recognises the oppressively hot and humid conditions experienced on the day,” said the Chief Executives.
The extreme heat drove significant increases in residential demand that resulted in outages on localised parts of the distribution networks.
“We are sympathetic to people who lost power on that Sunday and importantly we recognise the inconvenience and discomfort this has caused our customers, particularly those who were without power for a sustained period of time,” said the Chief Executives.
“Our focus now is on working with Government to identify and put in place sensible solutions – such as opt-in demand management – that prevents similar events on our networks in the future and do not drive up costs for our customers.”
While acknowledging the impact of the event of 28 January, in terms of overall reliability, Victorian customers experience the shortest average duration of unplanned outages in Australia while also paying about 18% less (or $75 per year) in distribution network charges than the national average.
Customers who were off supply between 3 and 20 hours on 28 January will receive $80, while those between 20 and 30 hours and more than 30 hours will receive $120 and $180 respectively.