WA increases electricity supply for regional households after rule change wreaks havoc


Western Power, the sole network operator for WA’s main grid, – the South West Interconnected System, has agreed to increase regional electricity supply allocations to 63 amps, effectively doubling the allocation to reach parity with metro areas.

Electricity supply allocations became a source of drama in the state after a rule was introduced in February 2022 mandating circuit breakers be installed on all new properties and following any major electrical work – including installing a solar system.

For regional properties, that circuit break would trip with any draw of over 32 amps (an induction cooktop alone draws at least 20 amps). This caused major disruptions to regional residents and local solar businesses, who sustained pressure on both Western Power and the state government to find a more equitable solution. 

Maximum demand calculation for a modest house with 10 power points, 10 lights, an electric oven and range, heat pump hot water system, aircon and a water pump. Calculations can be made via jcalc: https://www.jcalc.net/maximum-demand-calculator-as3000.

Image created via Screen shot from jCalc.NET

Western Power indicated it would move its regional customers to a 63 amp allocation last October, but said it must first undertake a trial. The 24-week trial spanned seven regional areas and sampled a diverse range of rural customers with different energy needs, the government said.

“Data from 140,000 single-phase meters across the network was analysed to understand load demand and network usage in metro and rural areas, which proved that existing electrical infrastructure could accommodate increased rural load requirements.”

The state’s switch breaker mandate will remain in place, with the government noting: “Homeowners are responsible for managing their electrical load and should seek electrical contractor advice when adding or replacing larger appliances or equipment.”

Given this, it seems likely as households electrify appliances and purchase electric vehicles that supply allocation will again become a sore spot for Western Australia.

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