Ryan sounds power alarm MP warns of summer blackouts

November 29, 2017

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan with Heathcote Queen Meadow owners Jeanette and Bryan Parkes.

HEATHCOTE businesses and households could face power blackouts this summer as a consequence of the state government’s failure to secure baseload power supplies.

The warning comes after revelations diesel generators are being installed to provide baseload power in Victoria because of a predicted shortfall in energy this summer.

Member for Euroa and deputy leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said Victoria has lost 22 per cent or 1,600 megawatts of its energy supplies as a result of the closure of Hazelwood in March this year.

“Before Hazelwood closed, Victoria’s Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, told parliament that power prices would increase by no more than four per cent and there would be no shortfall in energy supplies,” Ms Ryan said.

“That was a complete furphy. Local businesses have reported massive bill increases since Hazelwood closed and we now face the crazy situation where Victoria is installing diesel generators to get us through summer because we don’t have enough baseload energy.

“Not only are diesel generators a worse outcome for the environment, but they will also require half a million litres of diesel each day to operate.”

‘‘The state government won’t have a bar of it — they want renewables but the grid just isn’t set up for it, we’ve seen that in South Australia.’’

Jeanette and Brian Parkes, who took over the Heathcote Queen Meadow Caravan Park six months ago, said rising energy costs were a major concern.

“We have about 27 permanent residents and if power gets to the point where we have to pass it onto our residents, then it becomes an issue because a lot them are older people,” Mrs Parkes said.

“At the moment we are carrying the costs and what they are paying isn’t covering what we are paying.

“We may also be forced to put the prices up for our powered sites, which will affect visitors.

‘‘Even to shop around, we had so much trouble. There was no discussion and the providers didn’t seem to care until we said we’d be changing.

‘‘It’s such bad timing too, we don’t want people thinking the new owners of the Heathcote caravan park are just trying to make more money off people, we just won’t be able to cover the difference.’’

Ms Ryan said the Nationals had also raised concerns in parliament about the possibility of a diesel shortage, given Victoria only had about two weeks’ supply on hand at any one time.

“Under questioning, minister D’Ambrosio was unable to say what impact the generators’ consumption of diesel would mean for the availability or price of diesel,” Ms Ryan said.

“These generators will require half a million litres of diesel every day they run. There is a risk that we will experience diesel shortages as a consequence which is a real worry given we are about to head into grain harvest.”

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