Hydro Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government have misled the public by claiming the cause of the state’s energy crisis has been solved, the Basslink boss says.
The crisis was triggered in December 2015 by the failure of the Basslink cable, which connects Tasmania to the national electricity grid, combined with low dam levels and a record dry spring.
The six-month outage cost the state-owned entity $140 million.
On Wednesday, Hydro blamed Basslink’s operators for the failure, pointing to two expert reports it commissioned that found Basslink Pty Ltd (BPL) overused the cable and caused it to degrade.
Basslink chief executive Malcolm Eccles said that conclusion was not based on any facts as the report was hypothetical and based on modelling.
“Let’s face it, two days before Christmas we have Hydro Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government stand and publicly say that they have solved the mystery, but the truth of the matter is, and the actual facts state, they have not solved any mystery,” he said.
“Their reports clearly state that they have not proven the cause of the fault.”
The reports have not yet been made publicly available but Basslink was provided with unredacted copies.
“We have the full reports and I think the people of Tasmania, if they do get a chance to see the reports, will see that clearly that the report says these results do not prove the cause of the fault,” Mr Eccles said.
Mr Eccles is standing by Basslink’s own investigation that found the fault was unavoidable or a force majeure event.
Hydro has called for Basslink to limit its operations to 500 megawatts while it considers the new reports.
Basslink has committed to operating the interconnector at that rate for the time being, but Mr Eccles said that did not mean it accepted the recommendations.
“The Basslink facilities are designed to be operated at the continuous rating of 500MW or at 630MW for limited periods,” he said.
“While not accepting the conclusions and recommendations in the reports, Basslink will operate the interconnector at the continuous rating of 500MW in line with good electricity industry practice.”