Esperance offered off-grid electricity supply

Horizon Power workers install new LED lights in downtown Esperance in 2015. Image by The Esperance Observer

Customers in Esperance, Western Australia, who experienced bushfires last November are being offered solar-driven stand-alone power systems instead of being reconnected to the grid.

The opportunity to install the stand-alone power systems has arisen from the devastation of the November 2015 Esperance bushfires, which resulted in the destruction of more than 320 power poles and hundreds of kilometres of powerlines.

Horizon Power rebuilt the vast majority of the network, reconnecting more than 400 customers within 10 days of the fires.

The stand-alone power systems have been offered to customers in those areas of the network, which had previously supplied only one or two customers along long stretches of powerline.

“We identified that instead of rebuilding this part of the network – which is more susceptible to adverse weather and other causes of power interruptions – we could offer these customers a dedicated renewable energy power system which is not connected to the grid,” Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said.

Four customers across five properties have taken the opportunity to partner with Horizon Power on this project.

“These customers are pioneers of these new systems, which will be owned and operated by Horizon Power. The customers will pay the same cost for their electricity supplied by these units as they did previously for power supplied by poles and wires,” Mr Tudor said.

“While the units won’t be connected to the network, customers will receive the same service standards as those who are – including being able to call and rely on Horizon Power to respond to any unplanned power interruptions.”

The stand-alone power systems consist of solar panels and batteries and are backed up by diesel generation.