Bell Bay warns power network’s gold-plating could cost jobs

Tasmania’s Bell Bay
Aluminium has said that it wants to federal government to act on
over-investment and over-charging by electricity companies.

Bell Bay, one of the state’s
biggest electricity users, made a submission to a Senate committee claiming
transmission charges had risen 200 per cent over the last five years.

The company has warned that
it may have to shed workers.

“In its submission to
the Senate Inquiry Bell Bay Aluminium strongly advocates for national reform to
the current Federal regulations to address the significant over investment in
the network that has occurred in recent years,” the ABC reports Bell Bay’s general manager Ray Mostogl as saying yesterday.

However, Mostogl said
yesterday that the company’s engagement with energy provider TasNetworks had
hrecently “improved markedly”.

Bell Bay and five of the
state’s other heavy electricity users (claiming to cumulatively represent 40 per cent of the total TasNetworks’ total revenue) are requesting the power
company lower its capital and operational expenditure and reduce prices

The Senate inquiry, on “The performance and management of electricity network companies“, is expected to report on the first sitting day in March.

Bell Bay is owned by Rio Tinto’s Pacific Aluminium. According to its website it employs about 500, plus 100
contractors, and its three main products are ingot, block and T-bar aluminium.