Could SA’s electricity crisis have been prevented?

Minister Koutsantonis must tell South Australians what deal the Weatherill Labor Government rejected with Alinta regarding the closure of the Power Augusta power station.

The Weatherill Labor Government has refused to release documents to the Opposition regarding negotiations with Alinta since May 2015, despite the Ombudsman making a preliminary decision that it is in the public interest for the documents to be made public.

“Minister Koutsantonis must tell the public what deal was offered to the Government by Alinta regarding the closure of the Port Augusta Power Stations,” said Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

Since the closure of the power station, average monthly spot prices have increased by 163 per cent compared with the previous 12 months.

“These price rises could have been avoided,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.

“It is clear that the Weatherill Labor Government has mismanaged South Australia’s electricity system.”

Premier Weatherill even told South Australians:

“…the decision to close the power stations at Port Augusta is unlikely to affect the cost of electricity supply in this state.” (Hansard, 16 June 2015)

This is despite the AER Winter Energy Prices 2016 report stating:

“With the closure of the Northern Power station in April 2016, South Australia’s generation stock consists primarily of gas and wind plant. As a consequence, South Australian prices diverged materially from other regions for around 60 per cent of the time in July 2016… As in June many spot prices were set by capacity offered in the $250 - 500 per MWh range.”