Back to All News

Lights out for South Australians to protect profits for big power companies

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 20 Feb 2017

SA Power Networks has admitted to staying quiet for a week and a half on a software glitch that saw an additional 60,000 South Australian homes out of power during load shedding this month, following intense questioning from Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young at today’s ‘Senate Select Committee into the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World’ hearing in Adelaide.

“While Malcolm Turnbull and the coal-juggling clowns on his front bench waged their ideological war on renewables, SA Power Networks sat tight in the hopes no-one would notice their IT issues unnecessarily put an extra 60,000 South Australian homes in the dark on top of its planned 30,000 during load shedding last fortnight,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Today’s inquiry is showing two things. Power companies have little regard for customers and are more interested in running up massive profits over actually providing an essential service, and in contrast, we heard that if we had a level playing-field for renewable energy with battery storage, blackouts that left 90,000 South Australian households sweltering a fortnight ago just wouldn’t have happened.

“It’s clear that energy companies are more interested in lining their pockets than providing electricity to South Australians. Companies like ENGIE and AGL make huge profits and turn out empty pockets when it comes to switching the power on. Simply Energy, the energy provider arm of ENGIE, confirmed in today’s hearing that they have about 600,000 customers across the country yet it was ‘not commercially viable’ to activate Pelican Point during our most recent blackout.

“AGL has thumbed its nose at South Australians by pulling out of the hearing at late notice over the weekend. Their latest profit statement shows their coffers are up in excess of $700 million on last year, yet they were unable to find the time to explain why they’re more interested in making profits than supplying electricity. The lack of respect to customers from ENGIE, AGL and SA Power Networks, hiding behind the Prime Minister blaming renewables, is outrageous.

“The system is rigged against renewable energy and consumers, for the sake of big power companies making mega profits. We need to work towards a long-term solution which evidence increasingly shows, should be a combination of renewable energy and battery storage. Our renewable sector will continue to be a scapegoat for big power companies and their mates in the Government if the rules are pitted against them operating at their full potential.”

Media contact: Amy Moran 0427 604 760

Back to All News