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Blackout compo: SA Power Networks should 'prove' it's not responsible

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South Australia’s Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis wants SA Power Networks to prove it was right not to compensate about 30,000 customers who lost power for more than 12 hours amid December storms.

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SA Power Networks says 65,000 customers who lost power have received compensation worth $19 million, but another 30,000 have not because of a “force majeure” clause.

The electricity distributor says the clause has been applied because strong winds at the time meant it would have been unsafe for crews to restore power to those 30,000 properties.

But Koutsantonis says he will seek an explanation from SA Power Networks on how the rule could apply in so many instances.

He says he has already spoken with the Essential Services Commission of SA and asked them to raise the matter with the Australian Energy Regulator.

“SA Power Networks must be able to demonstrate that each instance in which the force majeure rule was used was genuine,” he said in a statement today.

“The frustration felt by South Australians who have been told they won’t receive compensation from SA Power Networks, despite losing power for more than 12 hours, is entirely justified.”

An SA Power Networks spokesman said the distributor would be happy to cooperate with such a process and has verifiable evidence of what led to the clause being applied for those customers.

AAP

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