SP AusNet’s AMI budget appeal dismissed


Melbourne, Australia — (METERING.COM) — August 7, 2013 – In its ongoing bid to secure approval for its advanced metering infrastructure budget, Victoria  electricity distributor SP AusNet has had its appeal for Au$56.4 million (US$50.7 million) previously disallowed by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER)  dismissed by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

The appeal was made following a final decision by the AER in February, which refused to allow SP AusNet’s full budget request for the period 2012-2015 on the grounds that the company should have switched away from WiMAX to mesh radio for its communications technology when a cost overrun became apparent.

In that decision, which followed a previous ruling by the Competition Tribunal, the AER approved a budget of $322 million, against the submission of $411 million.

In a statement AER chairman Andrew Reeves said: “The Tribunal’s decision … confirms the AER was correct in deciding that consumers should not be required to bear the cost of SP AusNet’s decision not to switch to a lower cost technology.”

According to the statement if SP AusNet’s proposal had been accepted, current meter prices would have increased by approximately 16 percent each year in 2014 and 2015 on top of the 7 percent previously allowed by the AER.

Susan Taylor, SP AUsNet’s General Counsel and Company Secretary, responded in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, expressing the company’s disappointment that the appeal to the Competition Tribunal had been dismissed.

“SP AusNet will carefully review the implications of the ACT’s decision and determine whether it is appropriate to take any further action,” said Taylor.

In addition, in respect of the disallowed costs of $32.7 million that were not previously appealed, SP AusNet will continue to review its options to recover these costs.