Media Release: What went wrong in SA? Senators to ask the energy questions the government won't

2.05pm | February 19, 2017

Key industry players will give evidence about the recent turmoil in South Australian energy at an Adelaide hearing on Monday for the Select Inquiry into Energy Resilience in a Warming World.

Under questioning at the committee's last hearing in Canberra, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealed some new information about the February 8 blackouts, but repeatedly declined to comment on the commercial or technical reasons that some gas generation plants were unavailable, saying these were questions for industry.

Monday will be the first occasion key industry players have appeared before the Senate Committee. Engie, AGL and SA Power Networks are expected to give evidence.

Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, Deputy Chair of the Select Committee, said:

“It has become clear that the February 8 blackout could have been avoided, and that failures in renewable energy sources were not the cause of the load-shedding that affected 90,000 homes and businesses.”

“My hope is that the Senate inquiry will contribute facts and investigation to a debate that has suffered from a lack of Government leadership and no interest in real action on energy policy.”

"Market participants need to explain what went wrong on February 8; why gas generation plants were not available, and why load shedding was more widespread than required."

“Energy is in the spotlight but so far the Government’s contribution has consisted of pointing panicked fingers at renewables and fondling coal, rather than putting hard questions to the market players and regulators.”

“Industry and community groups agree that there’s a negligent and expensive vacuum where our national energy plan should be.”