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State-wide blackout cost businesses $367 million: survey

Business

South Australia’s state-wide blackout in September costs businesses $367 million but could have been much worse, says the state’s peak business group.

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A Business SA survey of its members found the losses were mitigated by the timing of the blackout, which occurred late in the trading day – at 4.18pm on September 28.

Losses were also vastly different across the state, with Eyre Peninsula hardest hit.

The survey found median trading and production losses for blackout-affected businesses of $3500. On Eyre Peninsula, where power was out for three days, the median losses were almost $10,000, with a total regional impact of more than $8 million.

“While business has been pummelled with higher energy prices for the past 18 months, the blackout dealt a real body blow to the state’s economy at a time when it least needed it,” said Business SA’s executive director, industry and government engagement, Anthony Penney.

“Many of the affected businesses did not have business interruption insurance cover and a majority of those that did, unfortunately, found that their policies did not cover them for the specific losses they suffered.

“Another interesting finding from the survey, which attracted more than 200 responses, was that only 12 per cent of businesses had backup generators to cope with the loss of power.”

He said that, considering 70 per cent of respondents had power restored within 24 hours, the blackout costs businesses close to $120,000 per minute.

“It was a very high price to pay. The one ‘benefit’ out of the blackout was it put the issue of electricity pricing and security of supply firmly on the national political agenda and Business SA looks forward to positive action by both federal and state governments in coming months.”

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