Ombudsman

After an initial contact with the Energy Ombudsman, who referred the matter to the State Ombudsman, the State Ombudsman responded, then phoned asking for more information.

PLUG then sent the following letter and attachment:


Ombudsman WA
Attn: Edel O'Brien
PO Box Z5386
St Georges Tce
Perth WA 6831

Ref: 15246

6th September 2007

Dear Edel

Thank you for your letter dated 28th August 2007 and subsequent telephone conversation requesting more information regarding the concerns of our group about the Kojonup to Albany power line upgrade. Please find enclosed a summary of the problems we have experienced with Western Power and the consultants GHD.

Please contact us if you require further information.

Yours sincerely



On behalf of the PLUG group


Power Line Upgrade Group (PLUG Group)
Kojonup to Albany 2011 Upgrade
Identified Process Flaws

August 2007

  1. Poor communication/notification for April meetings.
    • Only 8 landholders attended the Narrikup meeting as a result of poor consultation.
    • Landholders have indicated they did not receive any correspondence prior to the initial meetings.


  2. Misleading information provided to attendees at the April meeting.
    • A landholder was advised by Western Power (WP) that the corridors wouldn't be proposed on the west side of the highway (West Chorkerup/Narrikup) due to dense population and housing congestion. Therefore the landholder didn't attend consultation meetings or nominate to sit on the consultative committee as they believed it wasn't going to affect them.


  3. Grange Resources
    • The Southdown magnetite & Kemaman Pellet Project; AMEC Mining Congress; June 2007; Project Report has no indication of Granges involvement in the 2011 Upgrade project.
    • Questions and correspondence directed to Grange about their involvement in the 2011 upgrade have not been responded to.
    • Grange informally advised their power requirements are not incorporated in the 2011 upgrade, but WP have recently advised that Grange was/is considering incorporating their power requirements for cost efficiency.


  4. Another Corridor
    • The community has been advised that there is potentially another corridor option not tabled.


  5. Poor Communication/Notification for August Weighting Workshop Meetings
    • Correspondence was mailed to addresses of tip to 12 years out of date and the majority of these landholders have lived at their current location for a number of years i.e. 12 out of date.
    • WP and GM didn't liaise with synergy, local shire/council offices or the electoral office to obtain correct mailing details of effected landholders.
    • A Corridor Selection Committee member didn't receive any correspondence/ notification about the intended weighting workshop meeting/s and had to phone and request all the correspondence be forwarded. (They have 2 corridors potentially affecting their property).
    • One landholder still hasn't received notification of the proposed corridors and they directly impact this person's property.
    • Another landholder has received correspondence but the location numbers were incorrect.
    • Redmond landholders were not designated a weighting workshop and are greatly effected.
    • Information requested from GHD on the 9th July 2007, still hasn't been responded to.
    • GHD has not replied to correspondence from emails acknowledging preference of a workshop/s.


  6. 11 Community Work Shop Meetings arranged for 800 participants
    • 11 work shop meetings were designated with only 25 participants per workshop. WP advised publicly that 800 landholders/stakeholders were affected by the proposed corridors. This means only 275 participants out of 800 effected landholders were catered for


  7. Unable to run 2 lines parallel down existing line easements.
    • Advised 2 power lines could not run parallel together for security reasons but, WP IS undertaking this option on the Margaret River to Busselton line.


  8. Maps of considerable age, distributed with the Weighting Workshop information package
    • Landholder dwellings, plantations and vineyards are not present and have littered the landscape for some years.
    • Maps do not clearly indicate how or how much properties could potentially be affected.
    • Map age is potentially 12 years old.


  9. Indigenous, Local and European cultural values haven't been assessed

  10. Local Environmental Groups
    • PLUG liaised with Environmental Groups, Plantation Company's, and Vineyards to determine their position and obtain information and advice on the proposed corridors. Only 1 organisation was fully informed and involved in the process, all other parties were ill informed and weren't required to participate until the corridors had been chosen.
    • Indigenous groups, the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC), Hay River LCDC, West Mt Barker LCDC, Oyster Harbour and Blackwood Basin Groups have had little notification on the proposed corridors.


  11. Question, Answer, Follow up from August Work Shops
    • GHD invited Narrikup workshop participants to table questions and they would be addressed prior to commencing the weighting criteria. The workshop facilitator advised the group, that answering our questions wouldn't assist us in undertaking the weighting process.
    • Few questions were answered and those unanswered were to be formally addressed and mailed to workshop participants, which hasn't occurred to date.


  12. WP website doesn't contain all relevant information and is not up-to-date.

Consultative Committee

  1. Corridors were changed from those initially indicated.
    • Participants of the consultative committee advised the corridors where changed from those chosen by the committee.

  2. Weighting Criteria was introduced by GHD, not by the committee.

  3. Weighting Criteria was not amendable by committee.
    • GHD informed the consultative committee that weighting criteria could not be amended by the committee.

  4. Request for Up-to-date Maps were denied.

  5. Advised another corridor option may be considered apart from the 3 existing corridors.

Conflicting Information Obtained by PLUG & Community

  1. Lines are unable to go underground; Lines can go underground.

  2. Process is transparent; little information available from GHD, WP and Grange.

  3. Substation location; rumoured to be located at Down Road or by Redmond Townsite, 1 to 2km north of Mirembeena

  4. WP and GHD unable to clarify Grange Resources power-up needs. Is Grange's involvement controlling the line/corridor outcome?

  5. To obtain more information contact WP or GHD; they were un-obliging and made the process difficult

  6. Grange Resources wouldn't advise of their involvement in the Kojonup to Albany 2011 Upgrade

  7. Unable to run 2 lines parallel
    • - Advised 2 power lines could not run parallel together for security reasons but, WP is undertaking this option on the Margaret River to Busselton line.

  8. Corridors
    • Conflicting information has been provided on the proposed corridor widths i.e. I km and 2km.
    • The transmission line has the potential to zig zag anywhere within the proposed corridor however; we have been advised that WP can go outside the proposed corridors. If this is the case, not all landholders (potentially affected) have been informed.

Work Shops

  1. Landholders were invited to indicate their weightings and there was no clarification on line size (220kv or 132kv), the structure to carry the line (tower or pole) and WP wouldn't clarify Grange's position or power requirements. If incorporated at all.

  2. Poor Communicationl/Notification for August Weighting Workshop Meetings
    • Correspondence was mailed to addresses of up to 12 years old and the majority of these landholders have lived at their current location for a number of years i.e. 12 years.
    • One landholder still hasn't received notification of the proposed corridors and they directly impact this person's property.
    • Another landholder has received correspondence but the location numbers were incorrect.
    • Redmond landholders were not designated a weighting workshop and are greatly effected.
    • GM has not replied to correspondence from emails acknowledging preference of a workshop/s.

  3. GHD and/or WP didn't clearly explain how the weightings worked

  4. Participants were not provided adequate information for effective decision making which resulted in participants at one workshop refusing to participate.

  5. Weighting criteria was ill defined, broad and deceptive.
    • Didn't differentiate between small and large properties or various land uses. Kojonup agricultural farm uses are vastly different compared to Redmond farming practices.
    • No criteria provisions for land devaluation, a major concern that impacts on landholders super, particularly for the smaller or lifestyle landholder.
    • Environmental Criteria did not differentiate between government land and private conservation. Scoring highly indicated landholders prefer to preserve government land and show little interest on clearing private conservation preservations.
    • No criteria was available on; 220kv v's 132kv; poles v's transmission tower; 2011 upgrade v's Grange Resources incorporated in 2011 Upgrade.
    • All 3 corridor options are west of the highway with no other options available.

  6. GHD facilitator frustrated participants and WP representatives by not answering questions, interrupting and presenting patronising monologue.

  7. Late registering landholders to the workshops were advised by GM, they were fully booked. SOW landholders were only able to secure a place by demanding they be accommodated others didn't exercise their rights as they felt overwhelmed.

  8. GHD facilitator comments were threatening at times; if we didn't complete the weighting criteria we indicated lack of interest.

Other

  1. Grange Resources.
    • Grange resources won't answer questions in relation to their involvement in the Kojonup to Albany 2011 upgrade.


  2. Impact Studies.
    • No environmental, social, cultural or agricultural impact study undertaken prior to identifying 3 possible corridors.
    • Due to no study undertaken of the proposed corridors, it has been identified these go directly through protected wetlands, bush covenants, protected wild life species, emergency and private air fields, directly over and within close proximity to dwellings etc.


  3. Legalities
    • WP should be purchasing the corridor to put their commodity through,
    • No clear clarification on health and safety aspects has been provided to landholders about working under power Imes. Guidelines available on AT website are confusing and don't clarify our fears. Are vineyard, employees and/or landowners potentially liable for legal action if someone was injured or became ill due to line transmissions (EFM's), towers etc?