ESCOSA's EP power recommendations no help to Kimba

The Kimba District Council has raised concerns the recommendations made in the Essential Services Commission of South Australia’s (ESCOSA) report on Eyre Peninsula’s power supply will not help Kimba.

Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson said he felt the final ESCOSA report, released last week, was very reactive.

“I would love to us be proactive in looking into the technology that could be used to improve the reliability and supply to the whole Eyre Peninsula,” Mr Johnson said.

“They’ve picked out areas for generators, mainly on the West Coast, but how is that going to benefit the rest of the Eyre Peninsula?

“I would rather see a detailed plan on how we could make the whole Eyre Peninsula reliable.”

Kimba District Council chief executive officer Deb Larwood made a submission to ESCOSA on behalf of the council after receiving the draft report earlier this year.

In the letter, Mrs Larwood said the council was concerned ESCOSA’s suggestions to improve the quality and supply would not benefit the Kimba community.

“It is felt that only the higher end options provided within the report will assist Kimba in alleviating the reliability and quality issues and even these may not assist those living outside of the town,” Mrs Larwood said.

“In addition it is felt that these options will not be viable and as such won't be implemented.”

Mrs Larwood said the consultation on the Eyre Peninsula was limited and minimal contact was made with councils “face-to-face”.

“If this consultation was to be representative of the views of Eyre Peninsula then council felt a site visit to each community would have been beneficial or at least consultation should have been undertaken on a wider basis.”

Mrs Larwood disagreed with ESCOSA’s view that complaints regarding power supply had been limited.

“Whilst the report suggests that complaints have been limited I believe, in our community, history shows that response is often minimal and as such people no longer take the time to lodge a complaint,” she said.

The letter also raised concerns that the report did not take into consideration the requirements of the Iron Road Project or the sale of Arrium.

Mrs Larwood said the council felt there was an ideal opportunity for the state to work in collaboration with the stakeholders.

She said Iron Road chief executive officer Andrew Stocker told the council that Iron Road would be pursuing options regardless of whether it was in conjunction with the state or not.

“To council it seems that this is a great opportunity to combine resources for the betterment of the whole of Eyre Peninsula,” Mrs Larwood said.

She also said the reliability and quality of electricity had made it difficult to attract new business to the community.

“There is ongoing issues with population decline and limited growth posing problems to not only businesses within the community but also services,” she said.

“The reliability and quality of electricity is always a challenge and a stumbling block in attracting new business along with the ever increasing cost of use.”

She said events such as last year’s lengthy blackout added further challenges, affecting communities’ ability to attract new businesses and attract or maintain new and existing services.

The council is investigating opportunities to improves its own electricity with a possibly solar initiative.