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GRC Professional : GRC Autumn 2012
IN DEPTH 14 GRC Professional • Autumn 2012 Victoria begins privatising its energy sector “Thatledtoarethinkofthe business model across the board,” saysMark Amos, Director Energy Infrastructure Policy at the Energy Networks Association. Black Saturday bushfires After 173 people were killed, a RoyalCommission is set uptolook into bushfire strategies. One suggestion is to under- ground allpower cables. Queensland floods Energex shuts down power to the Brisbane CBD during the floods so that damage to infrastructure is minimised and supply restoration effected more rapidly. Amos says,“This is an example of managing risk and balancing short-term needs of customers with longer term impacts.” Cyclone Yasi “ I t impacted on a lot of infrastructure and energy network companies are now behind in their work programs because they’re fixing instead of maintaining or building the facilities needed to ensure customers receive reliable supply. With an expectation that storms may become more frequent and more severe, we need to be readyfor that,” Amos says. 1995 2009 2010/2011 2011 » ENERGY SHOCKS As if things aren’t difficult enough in the energy sector, every now and then a shock hits out of the blue. risk management approach. some quarters have suggested that all powerlines should be sent underground, for instance. But around each issue there are financial, legal and political issues. and, of course, all costs must be funded and eventually customers will be impacted,” amos adds. A collaborative approach in order to deal with the various compliance and risk issues, the energy sector is not simply putting more bodies on board to deal with the issues, but is instead learning to work smarter and to collaborate across issues, says scott Paine, Executive Manager health and safety at ausgrid. “Welook to push resources in the right directions, but really our job is best done by collaborating across departments and across sectors. We work smart by sharing the load instead of working on specific issues individually,” says Paine, who is also Chair of the health, safety and Environment Committee at the Energy networks association (Ena). “the layers of reporting resulting from the regulatory environment are greater than they have ever been in the past. the compliance burden is enormous. so that’s the way we have to do things.” Paine says that major changes within the industry, The layers of reporting resulting from the regulatory environment are greater than they have ever been in the past. The compliance burden is enormous. such as the recently announced integration between the three electricity distributors in nsW, present a constant challenge. Weather issues and the spectre of climate change are also having their own effects on an industry that is always front and centre in the environmental argument. Coping with demand: a risk strategy one major challenge on the agenda of every meeting of Ena members is that of peak energy demand, amos says. as infrastructure ages and people begin to use less power thanks to power-saving devices and greater environmental awareness, there are still three or four days of peak power usage each year when ever ybody wants to use their air-conditioning, cookers, wide- screen tVs and lights at the same time. despite the fact that energ y consumption growth is trending lower, the energy sector must constantly update equipment, expand infrastructure or change operational practices so that it is able to cope with those few energy-intense days each year without blackouts. so whether energ y consumption is on its way down or not, the infrastructure must be able to cope with ever-greater loads that peak occasionally. this means that the network must be built as though this is an everyday occurrence.
GRC Summer 2012
GRC Winter 2012