Changes for WA's electricity sector

Western australia to receive energy reform 16000646 800507748 0 0 7040283 300

While some households and businesses have been affected to various degrees, no state or territory has been completely exempt from Australia's high electricity prices.

As reform has recently been announced for New South Wales, Western Australia is another region of the nation trying to get a handle on pricing.

Earlier in the year on April 10, the WA government announced that the state-owned electricity generator Verve, and retailer Synergy, will be merged to form a single entity.

Premier Colin Barnett said that this merger would deliver improved efficiencies in the delivery of electricity.

"This merger is the first step in the process to put in place an efficient energy market that delivers cost-effective, reliable and safe energy for all West Australians," said energy minister Dr Mike Nahan.

"The state government will also, in consultation with industry, review the market rules and the functioning and design of the Western Australian Wholesale Energy Market as well as the role of the Independent Market Operator (IMO) to identify and address existing deficiencies in the market."

On July 2, the WA government announced the new board of directors for the Verve and Synergy merger.

Synergy chairman MIchael Smith will head up the newly merged business entity, and will lead a board of six members that will oversee the changes. Trading as a single entity will begin on January 1, 2014.

"Apart from serving as chairman of Synergy, Michael is also chairman of iiNet, recently became the first West Australian appointed as chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and also successfully served as West Coast Eagles chairman," said Dr Nahan.

"This board brings together a great balance of experience, knowledge of the energy sector and enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead."

It is hoped that the new merger will streamline processes in electricity production, making huge gains in efficiency. As well as this, the government hopes it will help to create an energy market which delivers cost-effective, reliable and safe energy for all Western Australians.

Prices for electricity in WA are being increased with a 4 per cent carbon component for households and small businesses from July 1, as well as increased carbon component tariffs for other business. Prices have been rising steadily in the state since 1999.

Posted by Charlie Moore