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SA Government To Unveil Electricity Market Intervention

The move comes after months of power trouble.

14/03/2017 7:14 AM AEDT | Updated 14/03/2017 8:17 AM AEDT
Reuters Staff / Reuters
The Santos-operated Moomba gas plant is seen outside Moomba, South Australia May 17, 2012.

The South Australian Government is expected unveil a "dramatic" intervention in the National Electricity Market in a plan to be revealed on Tuesday.

The plan -- which is also expected to prompt vast debate -- will use "every aspect of [the state's] arsenal to address the price and stability issues in the grid," Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told the ABC.

The move follows a series of blackouts and severe weather events in the state.

"What you're going to see is an intervention that's going to change the rules for South Australians. South Australia is sovereign, we will decide our energy future," Koutsantonis said.

"It's about more generation here in South Australia for South Australians."

Koutsantonis cited price increases across the country, in particular Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

"Fundamentally the market is broken," he said.

"Australians fundamentally want to retake control of their power assets to suit their own needs because energy is not a commodity to be traded on a marketplace, it's an essential utility. We cannot live without it. And putting it in the hands of shareholders and people who are interested in profit is unacceptable."

Details of the plan are expected to be unveiled at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

In February power was cut to 90,000 SA properties following load shedding amid extreme heat.

In September last year there were widespread power outages across the state during severe storms.

Premier Jay Weatherill and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have spoken with Tesla chief Elon Musk, just days after the tech billionaire tweeted that he could fix the state's electricity crisis.

Flinders University Professor John Spoehr said he expects investment in base load power along with a new regulatory framework to bolster reliability in the system.

"If done well, this could make South Australia a bit of a moral for what could happen elsewhere in Australia," said Spoehr, who is Director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at the university.

"Other states are having the same problem, with the need to transition away from coal. So South Australia really is I think going to be looked at very closely to see if it gets this right."



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