Financial relief for Cyclone Seroja-affected Western Australians

Cyclone Seroja impacts
Image: Western Power via Twitter

The McGowan Government has announced electricity and water financial relief packages to support those affected by the devastating impacts of ex-tropical Cyclone Seroja.

The relief package for those impacted includes:

  • Doubling Western Power’s Extended Outage Payment from $80 to $160 for customers impacted by an outage or outages collectively exceeding 12 hours;
  • Waiving fees related to network connections and reconnections for people whose properties were destroyed;
  • Reconnecting electricity for existing customers and replacing damaged meters will be free-of-charge;
  • Waiving the cost of establishing a temporary builder supply, up to $555, for residents whose property has been destroyed;
  • Synergy to pause collection activities for overdue and outstanding accounts;
  • Supply and abolishment fees waived for properties who may be candidates for alternative solutions such as stand-alone power systems;
  • Any customer with water meter damage as a result of the cyclone will have their meter replaced at no cost.
  • Customers who have lost their property will have existing and new charges waived, in addition to the waiving of service charges (until 2022), building application fees and any service connection or disconnection fees.
  • A major fixture waiver will be applied to impacted businesses for two billing cycles and additional support extended to those indirectly impacted – landlords and property managers should ensure the waiver is passed onto their tenants.
  • Water Corporation will pause all collection activities, including for overdue and outstanding accounts.
  • All customers in Kalbarri and Northampton will automatically receive a 50,000 litre water use allowance, have service charges waived for 12 months and receive additional billing support as required.

Around 31,800 homes and businesses were affected by the storm damage from Cyclone Seroja in the Mid-West and Wheatbelt regions.

Related article: Electricity infrastructure rebuild underway in cyclone-hit WA

The cyclone’s damage, which was 700 kilometres long and 150 kilometres wide, affected 20 per cent of Western Power’s network – the equivalence is larger than Tasmania.

Several hundred power poles, feeders and other electrical infrastructure were damaged.

More than 26,500 customers have had their power restored and Western Power is working to getting the remaining back as safely and quickly as possible – for some this may take weeks.

Water Corporation’s thousands of kilometres of pipeline, and more than two hundred water tanks, pump stations and other infrastructure across the mid-west have also been impacted by the cyclone and the resulting loss of power.

Related article: PM announces $1 billion energy deal with SA

Water Corporation staff have been on the ground repairing storm damage and connecting dozens of generators, until power can be fully restored.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said, “The impacts of ex-tropical Cyclone Seroja have been devastating for our communities in the Mid-West and Wheatbelt regions.

“This electricity relief package is one of the first initiatives the McGowan Government has introduced to help these communities recover.

“Repairing the electricity network is massive and the biggest ever undertaken by Western Power; thank you to the 230 staff that have been rebuilding the network in such a short time.”