Households in Melbourne’s CBD and inner suburbs will benefit from a $46 reduction in network charges on their electricity bills and a $1.1 billion investment in critical power infrastructure and services over the next five years under a plan to be rolled out by electricity distributor CitiPower.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) announced its final determination on CitiPower’s proposed plan for the 2021-2026 period commencing July 1.
The approved plan will allow CitiPower to sustain reliable, safe and affordable electricity supplies while also building the capability necessary to offer quality services in the rapidly developing energy market featuring greater customer deployment of rooftop solar, batteries and into the future, electric vehicles.
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CitiPower chief executive officer Tim Rourke said while the AER did not approve all the initiatives proposed, the determination provides the necessary funding for the network to invest in the programs which were of greatest importance to customers.
“This is a good outcome for our customers who will receive continued reliability and additional services at a lower cost,” Mr Rourke said.
“The critical programs will enable greater solar exports, facilitate asset replacements that will modernise the network, and realise the introduction of new technologies so as to offer secure data services for customers.”
Mr Rourke said lower network charges contribute to an eight per cent reduction in revenue which has been capped by the AER at $1.4 billion over five years. This has been made possible by improved efficiencies in the business with AER benchmarking ranking CitiPower as the most productive urban distributor in the National Electricity Market based on operating expenditure.
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“We will continue to deliver business efficiencies so as to ensure our customers’ expectations are met,” he said.
The highlights of the AER determination are:
- Increased affordability for customers with average residential network charges reducing by $46 in the first year and then increasing by $1 a year.
- Savings on network charges for small business customers with costs reducing by $151 in the 2022 financial year.
- Approval of funding required to upgrade the network so as to ensure 85 per cent of solar customers will be able to export 5kW 85 per cent of the time and build the digital capability for greater flexibility as distributed energy resources evolve.
- Upgrading zone substations in and around the city as the next step of the Melbourne CBD Security of Supply project.