Andrews’ Labor government is considering long-term reforms to the state’s electricity distribution network following prolonged power outages caused by severe storms last year.
Reviewing the Resilience of the Electricity Distribution System Expert The panel will lead the second phase of a review of the role of power companies after the June 9 storm.
The review was established to examine how companies can improve distribution system preparedness and response to extended power outages resulting from storms and other extreme weather events.
Following the first phase of the review – conducted from September to October 2021 – a report was delivered to the government with short-term recommendations to be implemented by summer 2021-22.
These included improvements in communication with critical infrastructure operators, improved public messaging to support community preparedness, and faster, more streamlined support for energy-dependent customers. All recommendations were in place before the October storms.
Phase 2 will identify long-term measures and regulatory reform options to mitigate and better respond to prolonged power outages.
The panel will be led by Chair Jo Benvenuti, a former senior executive at the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Center and an experienced consultant in the areas of consumer engagement and energy and water policy.
She will be joined by Dr Claire Noone, director of the NOUS group who has experience in regulatory design and has led reform work at Consumer Affairs Victoria; and Mark Paterson, chief executive of low-carbon energy systems company Strategen, who previously worked in distribution networks.
The panel will lead several round tables in March with representatives of distributors, technicians experts, community representatives, energy industry experts and the emergency management sector. Phase 2 will also include a survey of community members and businesses in the affected areas.
The Phase 2 report will be completed by March 31, 2022. To find out more, visit: www.energy.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister of Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“Many Victorians were devastated by power outages following the June and October thunderstorms, and with climate change set to make storms more frequent and intense, we need to do more to bolster supply networks. .”
“We were proud to provide relief measures such as temporary generators, payments in the event of an extended power outage and funding packages for emergency repairs.”
“The Independent Review of Electricity Distribution System Resilience Expert The panel will examine what long-term measures are needed to improve mitigation and response to extended power outages.