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An independent review has commenced into the power outages which occurred from December 24 to 28, 2021, across the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Michelle Shepherd, a Commissioner at the AEMC with more than 20 years’ experience in energy policy and regulation in Western Australia, has been appointed by the Western Australian Government as an independent reviewer to lead the six-week review.

The review will examine why the outages happened, Western Power’s planning and preventative measures taken in preparation for Christmas and its restoration response.

The scope of the review will include Western Power’s network and operational planning, network design, load forecasting, asset management and maintenance. 

Areas that experienced repeat losses of power during the Christmas period, or have had a history of power issues, will be closely examined.

A report with key findings and recommendations will be given to the Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, by Monday March 14, 2022.

“I’m pleased that Michelle Shepherd has accepted to lead this review, which will assess Western Power’s operational response to the Christmas power outages compared to industry best practice,” Mr Johnston said.

“It’s understandable how frustrating it was for the tens of thousands of customers that didn’t have power during the very hot Christmas holidays.

“I look forward to reviewing the report in the coming months, before commenting further.”

During the peak of the power outages on Boxing Day, triggered by the four-day heatwave, approximately 34,000 households and businesses were without power.

Some of the most impacted areas were Baldivis, Dawesville, Clarkson, Mindarie, South Yunderup, Roleystone, Kelmscott and Bouvard. 

The high bushfire risk conditions exacerbated the situation, with Western Power repairs being delayed until it was safe for crews to carry out the required work.

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