We have a received a large volume of communications from members regarding Western Power’s requirement to install a circuit breaker as a main switch for all new connections and for any altered connection arrangement.
The main impacts of this requirement are felt outside of the Perth metropolitan area and major regional centres of Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Mandurah.
Western Power has deemed the major regional centres to be any property within the official local government boundaries of each of the above cities.
Outside of these regional centres, a standard single-phase connection is limited to 32 amps, and for 480 volts multiphase, 20 amps per phase. This is clearly inadequate for most customers who wish to install standard modern items such air-conditioning and induction cooktops.
As this requirement applies to any altered connection, the installation of solar panels on an existing property, which has been supplied for many years without issue, will likely begin to experience nuisance tripping problems. This will be particularly felt on farms with a 480-volt supply.
Given the impact on both consumers and contractors in these areas, NECA will continue to liaise with Western Power to find a workable solution. However, if that is not possible, then we will be highlighting this issue directly with the Minister of Energy, Bill Johnston MLA.