Public Utilities Office opens its doors
On Monday 2 April 2012, the Public Utilities Office opened its doors at Albert Facey House in Perth as a brand new business unit of the Department of Finance. The role of the Public Utilities Office is to lead the provision of quality advice to government on essential (utility) services, with an initial focus on energy issues.
By joining the Department of Finance, it is expected that the Public Utilities Office will benefit from the economies of scale of being part of a larger department. The initial focus on energy reflects the closure of the Office of Energy and the transfer of those functions and resources to the Department of Finance.
Some of the immediate issues to be addressed by the Public Utilities Office will be:
Western Power’s third access arrangement (AA3) currently before the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) and how to deal with the infrastructure demands expected to arise from that;
the Strategic Energy Initiative;
electricity and gas tariff rises and ways to minimise the pressure of those increases on vulnerable customers;
enhanced performance monitoring, and critical review of the infrastructure programs, of the State’s four electricity corporations (Verve Energy, Western Power, Synergy and Horizon Power);
the electricity generation requirements in the Pilbara;
working with the corporations to investigate options to solve “edge of grid” reliability issues and the efficient uptake of renewables;
the Government response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Western Power and its wood poles program (Report 14 – Unassisted Failure);
Network issues such as constrained access, smart metering and a review of the access code;
the State Underground Power Program.
For any queries regarding the closure of the Office of Energy or the creation of the Public Utilities, please contact Michael Kerr, Acting Coordinator of Energy on (08) 9420 5600 or David Murphy, Department of Finance on (08) 6551 1105.